Man who dressed up in KKK costume for online hate video jailed for a year
Published 08/01/2014 | 14:37
A man who admitted posting online footage of himself dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume to stir up racial hatred has been jailed for 12 months.
Christopher Philips appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court today, after previously pleading guilty to appearing in three YouTube videos last year showing him wearing the klansman outfit, and posing with a life-sized golliwog doll at a far-right gathering.
Sentencing Philips, formerly known as Darren Clifft, Judge John Warner told him: "It does not require advanced education or knowledge of history to know what you were seeking to convey might cause offence."
He added the publication of the videos by Philips, who has Asperger's, would obviously be "thoroughly offensive" or "highly inflammatory", leaving him with no choice but to jail the 24-year-old.
Judge Warner told Philips, who it was earlier revealed was thrown out of the National Front for having views which were too extreme, that: "On March 9, you went with others to a 'White Power Worldwide' demonstration at Swansea, taking with you a Klansman outfit purchased from America.
"You later travelled to another event where you were photographed and filmed dressed in the outfit, and hanging a life-sized golliwog."
Judge Warner went on to describe Philips's "admiration for the notorious figures" of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as "abhorrent".
He added: "Your manifesto, written as Darren Clifft, stated that in your view democracy has been a failure and what is needed is dictatorship and you as the dictator.
"You set out a series of measures in that manifesto - measures of the most extreme nature which I will give no further publicity."
Judge Warner continued: "In our democracy people are allowed to hold extreme, bizarre and offensive views.
"Parliament has passed laws like this one, under which you have offended, not to prevent or inhibit dissemination of those views but to prevent the dissemination of material which is threatening or offensive and likely to stir up racial hatred.
"By your guilty plea you admit that was your intention."
In reference to the death of Philips' father, who committed suicide shortly after his son's arrest in March last year, Judge Warner added: "I don't for one moment hold you responsible for his death - but I have no doubt your behaviour caused him a great deal of concern and heartache."
Simon Davies, prosecuting, said that on March 12 last year, three videos showing a man in a KKK outfit hanging a golliwog doll were posted on YouTube on Philips's account, named Ultimate Dazzler, with web links and video stills from that footage posted on his social media websites.
He added that Philips travelled just a few days prior on March 9 to a White Pride Worldwide demonstration in Swansea, which had "links with the far-right extremist organisations including the National Front and the English Defence League (EDL)".
Mr Davies said Philips then travelled to a Blood and Honour event at the Valley Commando Motorcycle Club at Abercynon, where he was photographed and filmed in the KKK outfit, dancing, and posing with the doll.
On March 26, following an investigation into the videos and other images posted on Facebook, police from the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit raided the house of Philips's parents where he lived.
The officers seized a laptop, a National Front membership card in the name of Darren Clifft, and a white KKK outfit, according to Mr Davies.
Also uncovered were a pair of combat trousers, a flag bearing the slogan "White Pride Worldwide" and a copy of a letter to a German acquaintance of Philips by Norwegian far-right extremist and mass- murderer Anders Breivik.
There was also a newspaper clipping with the headline "Nut warns of UK massacre", and a train ticket from Wolverhampton to Swansea.
Philips was interviewed on three occasions, giving mostly "no comment" answers until the last interview, said Mr Davies, when he started to tell detectives about his views.