Alex Davies: Founder of neo-Nazi group National Action guilty of terror offences | UK News

Alex Davies: Founder of neo-Nazi group National Action guilty of terror offences | UK News

A former philosophy undergraduate who founded a notorious neo-Nazi group that infiltrated the police and army has been found guilty of terrorism offences.

Alex Davies was described by the prosecution as the “extremist’s extremist” who had a unique place in history as an individual who founded two different far-right groups that were both banned under terrorism legislation.

He is the last of 25 members of the neo-Nazi group National Action to face jail after he was convicted of keeping the organisation running following a ban for encouraging the killing of MPs.

Davies was described by prosecutors as an “innocuous-looking, educated and intelligent” student at Warwick University when he founded a new far-right group, aimed at recruiting students and young people to the neo-Nazi cause.

A former campaigner for UKIP and a former member of the BNP youth wing, he set about utilising the internet and social media to spread neo-Nazi “memes” and conduct stunts and demonstrations.

The group was said to have paramilitary aspirations with an emphasis on boxing, martial arts, and knife fighting.

Members collected, knives, daggers, machetes, high-velocity crossbows, rifles, pump-action shotguns, knuckle dusters, CS spray, baseball bats, and even a longbow.

National Action described itself as a “white jihadist” group and a “throwback to the 1930s, dedicated to all-out race war”, Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said.

“It advocated the same Nazi aims and ideals – the ethnic cleansing of anyone who did not fit the Aryan Nazi mould: Jews, Muslims, people of colour, people of Asian descent, people of gay orientation, and anyone remotely liberal,” Mr Jameson said.

Celebrated murder of MP Jo Cox

Alex Davies, third left, giving Hitler salute in in the Savernake Forest, Wilts, December 2016
Davies, third left, giving a Nazi salute in the Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, in December 2016
Alex Davies holding a megaphone at a rally by National Action in York, May 2016
Davies holding a megaphone at a rally by National Action in York, May 2016

The group specifically targeted female members of parliament perceived to be in favour of immigration, and when Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016, they openly celebrated her death and expressed support for her killer.

National Action encouraged members to join the police and army, as they toured the country holding “flash demonstrations” and parading banners with the words: “Hitler was right.”

Members included Jack Renshaw, who was jailed for plotting to kill MP Rosie Cooper with a sword, Mikko Vehvilainen – a serving soldier who was stockpiling weapons, and Ben Hannam, who joined the Metropolitan Police.

Jack Coulson constructed a pipe bomb and posted an image on social media of the Bradford skyline, threatening to eradicate Muslims from the town.

Among other recruits was Alice Cutter, who entered a “Miss Hitler” beauty pageant, calling herself the Buchenwald Princess.

Davies’s propaganda effort was supported by another student, Ben Raymond, who was studying politics at Essex University, and Mark Jones, another former BNP member, who between them ran an operation producing designs for the group.

‘A modern-day Heinrich Himmler’

Alex Davies and Mark Jones giving a Nazi salute in the execution chamber of Buchenwald concentration camp in April 2016 in an image shown to the jury in Davies's trial for membership of a proscribed organisation.
Davies and Mark Jones giving a Nazi salute in the execution chamber of Buchenwald

Davies, 27, the son of an engineer from Swansea, was described as a “particularly active recruiting sergeant” who personally vetted people for his brand of extremist political activity.

As a teenager, Davies had twice been referred to the government’s Prevent de-radicalisation scheme by his school, once when he was 15 and again when he was 19.

The first time they “never got in touch” and the second time, they said, “Alright we can see you’re not a threat, see you, Alex, have a good life”, he claimed.

He founded National Action straight after leaving school, and Mr Jameson told Winchester Crown Court that he acted like a modern-day Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS.

“His neo-Nazi ideology was among the most extreme of anyone within National Action – Mr Davies was an extremist’s extremist,” Mr Jameson said.

Founder of banned terrorist organisation National Action Alex Davies arrives at Winchester Crown Court where the 27-year-old, from Swansea, is charged with membership of an outlawed organisation between 17 December 2016 and 27 September 2017. Picture date: Wednesday April 20, 2022.
Davies was found guilty of continuing to be a member of the neo-Nazi organisation after it was banned.

In May 2016 he posed alongside Jones, giving a Nazi salute, in the execution chamber of the Buchenwald concentration camp, in an image that caused outrage in Germany.

In York soon afterwards, he was confronted by angry locals after shouting into a megaphone in front of a banner containing the words “Refugees not welcome: Hitler was right.”

‘Ban us? So what’

Alex Davies' graffiti saying: "Ban us so what?"

Davies acted as a “planner, strategist and recruiter” and the group’s treasurer, with control of its PayPal account, attending meetings across the country and giving speeches through megaphones at demonstrations.

However, once the group was banned on 16 December 2016, for encouraging attacks on MPs, Davies sought to set up a “continuity” organisation and acted as a “switchboard” for new recruits, Winchester Crown Court was told.

In the early hours of 2 January 2017, Davies photographed graffiti with the words: “Ban us, so what? New Year, same struggle, 14/88” – a coded reference to Heil Hitler.

‘You won’t last long if you’re too blatant about being a Nazi’

Davies set up a group called NS131 – a reference to National Socialist anti-Capitalist Action – and began registering domain names on 17 April.

In a message, four months after the ban, Davies told a Scottish associate: “I think that’s inevitable if they try and continue repressing us then we’ll simply give them the biggest game of whack-a-mole ever.”

When Davies was grooming a potential recruit in April 2017, he wrote: “The way I see it, our people need to be able to ‘swim’ among the general population without trouble.

“We need to be inside the institutions so that we can be in a position to influence things, and obviously you won’t last long if you’re too blatant about being a Nazi. It’s what Adolf did.

Alex Davies, left, giving a Nazi salute outside the Unite union, September 2015
Davies, left, giving a Nazi salute outside the Unite union, September 2015

“We need to be smart but ready to use well-directed boots and fists, if needs be. No pacifist movement is going to go anywhere.”

On 27 May, in Swindon, Davies filmed a promotional video for NS131, which he later posted on YouTube with the slogan: “Anti-capitalist action – free, social and national.”

In court, Davies claimed that he was simply a “political activist” interested in immigration and creating a “white Britain.”

He did not dispute that he was a co-founder and member of National Action before the ban, but said the organisation ceased to exist following December 2016.

He claimed that he was meeting with former members to have ice cream in Swansea, a McDonald’s in Leeds, and do some shopping in Manchester as he travelled around the country drinking in Wetherspoons pubs and drumming up support for his new projects.

However, Mr Jameson told the jury: “The evidence suggests overwhelmingly that not only did the defendant remain a member of the continuity group after the ban, he founded his own offshoot by the name of NS131.”

It can also now be disclosed that Alex Davies was influenced by the same “accelerationism” theory, encouraging followers to provoke a race war, as followed by Payton Gendron, who went on a shooting spree in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people, on Saturday.

The theory was promoted by a notorious Russian neo-Nazi, using the name Alexander Slavros, who produced propaganda encouraging readers to prepare for a race war and launch lone wolf terrorist attacks.

It can also be disclosed that Davies tried to get into mainstream politics and approached other far right groups to seek nomination to run as a local councillor in Swansea.

Following his conviction, Detective Superintendent Anthony Tagg, of Counter-Terrorism Police West Midlands, said his officers had examined 45 million media files as part of their investigation into National Action.

“National Action not only set out to spread fear and division, they also sought to carry out ethnic cleansing to establish a white homeland through the utilisation of violence,” he said.

“It was an organisation which had a number of members who focused on recruiting and retaining followers and on how to market their message to appeal to vulnerable young people.

“Alex Davies clearly set out to further his view of the world by a number of means. When his group was proscribed, it morphed into something else, but NS131 was simply a continuation of National Action.”

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Author: Shirley