Banbury pair plead not guilty over banned far-right group membership charges

A man and a woman from Waltham Gardens, Banbury, are charged with being members of banned far-right group National Action NNL-180901-131038009
A man and a woman from Waltham Gardens, Banbury, are charged with being members of banned far-right group National Action NNL-180901-131038009

A man and a woman from Banbury, charged with being members of banned far-right group National Action, pleaded not guilty in court today (Tuesday, January 9).

Adam Thomas, 21, and Claudia Patatas, 38, both of Waltham Gardens, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court along with four other men.

The group were charged with being ‘concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism’ yesterday.

Thomas, who sported a shaved head, indicated a not guilty plea to possessing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, namely the Anarchist Cookbook.

The five men gave their identities as British while Patatas, who wore a grey tracksuit and glasses, told the court she is Portuguese.

The other men charged are: Nathan Pryke, 26, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridge; Darren Fletcher, 28, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton; Daniel Bogunovic, 26, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester; and Joel Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Moor Lane, Hazel Grove, Stockport.

Indicating his not guilty plea, a bearded Bogunovic, wearing a navy and grey cardigan, said: “I intend to clear my good name and to fight these charges from start to finish, not guilty.”

The charges relate to belonging to the banned group between December 17, 2016, and September 5 last year.

Bogunovic also pleaded not guilty to intending to stir up racial hatred by posting National Action-branded stickers at the Aston University campus in Birmingham.

A short-haired Fletcher, who wore a grey tracksuit, also faces five counts of breaching an anti-social behaviour order.

The decision by the Government to ban National Action came into force in December, 2016, making membership of the group a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

At the time the ban was brought in, the Home Office said the neo-Nazi group was the first far-right organisation to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation.

All six were remanded in custody and are due to appear at the Old Bailey on January 19.

The six were arrested on Wednesday (January 3) by officers from West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit in conjunction with units from across the country.

The arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led; there was no threat to the public’s safety, West Midlands Police said.

Last week a warrant was granted to allow police to keep the five men in custody for longer for further questioning but Patatas was released on investigation, before being charged yesterday.

Searches at a number of addresses have been completed since the arrests last week.