Warning signs of twisted far-right copper jailed for neo-Nazi group membership
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The early warning signs had been there.
When twisted former rookie PC Benjamin Hannam, 22, – who was on Friday jailed for four years and four months – had been in school, a string of incidents had shown his sick, underlying views.
On Friday, April 23, Hannam, from Edmonton in north London, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after being convicted of belonging to the banned neo-Nazi terror group National Action (NA).
NA's ideology was described during his Old Bailey trial as based on "Aryan purity" and hatred of non-white groups, particularly Jews.
Members venerated Adolf Hitler as a "divine figure" and celebrated violence, including war and genocide, the court heard.
He had been working as a probationary officer with the Met Police for under two years.
But when Hannam had been at school, teachers refused to submit his A-level politics dissertation because of his "intolerant" view of Islam.
Concerned teachers referred Hannam to guidance adviser Hafida Zitouni, who described him as “respectful” and “polite” even though he avoided the issue.
Over the course of around 15 sessions, he spoke instead about his frustrations that his Mauritian Muslim girlfriend’s parents did not accept him.
Just months earlier he had made "inappropriate" anti-immigration comments and "came across as offensive to students" during a Brexit debate, Winchmore School history teacher Lisa Hughes told the court.
Hannam was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the Metropolitan Police and having terror documents detailing knife combat and making explosive devices.
His conviction came after he was found on a leaked database of users of extreme right-wing forum Iron March, a site linked to several murders and acts of extremist terrorism.
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As early as May 2014, Hannam had expressed intolerant views, writing: "I’m not racist, I just don’t like people who’s skin is darker than mine! (sic)"
In his first post on Iron March, Hannam wrote that he was "completely swayed" by NA.
He signed up for the London branch of National Action in March 2016.
Nine months later, NA was banned after it glorified the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.
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In January 2017, he travelled to Swindon pubs where he met NA co-founder Alex Davies and others.
Three months later, he took part in outdoor boxing in woodland which was filmed on Mr Davies’ camera.
In the film, Hannam is heard to say: "Do you mind if I throw my hood up, thanks. My hair, my hair identifies me."
On July 2, 2017, he spray-painted the symbol for an NA alias – NS131 – in a storm drain on the outskirts of Swindon, which was filmed for a promotional video.
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The same month, Hannam applied to join Scotland Yard – denying he had ever been a member of the British National Party or "similar organisation".
Officers searched his bedroom last year and found neo-Nazi posters, notes detailing his membership of NA, as well as NA badges and business cards.
He had stored on a USB stick two documents said to be useful to a terrorist.
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Mass murderer Anders Breivik's manifesto was found on the USB, containing guidance on making radiological, chemical and biological weapons, and improvised explosive devices while the second document detailed how to carry out a fatal knife attack.
A second document detailed how to carry out fatal knife attacks.
Images of Hannam of Edmonton, north London, appeared online in uniform with a Hitler moustache.
During his trial, Hannam told jurors: "I was under the impression this was some kind of youth network.
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"I have never been stickering with NA nor have I done banner drops. I stuck to social activities.
"Most of the time was going to the pub and going for walks. Other times camping or going boxing."
He denied reading all of Breivik’s manifesto, saying he found it "boring".
On Thursday, April 22, the Met Police confirmed Hannam has been sacked from the force.
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Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, previously said there was no evidence Hannam abused his position "to further his extremist views".
All known involvement by PC Hannam with National Action had ended by 30 September 2017, prior to the start of his police training on 26 March 2018.
He was found guilty of the aforementioned charges on Friday, April 1.
- MET Police
- Adolf Hitler
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