Tuesday 20 March 2018

EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed

English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson
English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson

Former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for mortgage fraud.

The 31-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, admitted to two counts of fraud at a hearing in November, after he was accused of conspiring with others to obtain a mortgage by misrepresentation.

The fraud of the Abbey and Halifax banks amounted to £160,000 over a period of six months in 2009.

In an apparent comment on his sentence at St Albans Crown Court, Mr Robinson posted on Twitter: "This is a complete stitch-up".

He also wrote “one last feed” alongside a photo of a plate of chicken, mashed potatoes and chips, followed by “see u all in 18 months when I’ve lost all this weight [sic]”.

He has also been detained by the police a number of times during EDL rallies since founding the far-right group in 2009, including when police tried to restrict far-right marches in the wake of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby last year.

Mr Robinson left the group in October 2013 alongside co-leader Kevin Carroll, following what they said were discussions with the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam.

However, in a continuation of the EDL’s anti-Islamist stance, Mr Robinson wrote in a statement at the time that he plans to “counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”

Charles Sherrard QC who represented Mr Robinson, told the court that his client's life would be in danger in prison, particularly as he may have alienated his previous followers.

The barrister cited the 10 months that Mr Robinson spent in prison for using someone else’s passport to travel to the USA, when he had to be placed in solitary confinement and was moved to four different jails for his safety, the BBC reported.

Mr Sherrard also claimed that his client is on the wanted-list of the Somali rebel group al-Shabaab, which poses him further risk.


Additional reporting by PA

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