A Lancashire man was jailed for two years on 8 April 2022 for posting extreme right-wing and racist material online and for making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child
Thomas Leech (DOB 13/07/2002), of Derby Drive, Preston, pleaded guilty to seven charges.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of publishing a statement intending members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare, or instigate acts of terrorism or convention offences contrary to section 1(2)(b)(i) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
He also pleaded guilty four other offences not covered by terrorism legislation:
- Publishing or distributing written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting intending thereby to stir up racial hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred was likely to be stirred up.
- Publishing or distributing written material which was threatening, intending thereby to stir up religious hatred.
- Making 211 indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child.
- Making 4 indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child.
He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 8 April 2022, where he was also given a 12 month extended license period to be applied on completion of his prison sentence, plus 10 years on the sex offenders register, a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a 10 year notification requirement under part 4 of the Terrorism Act 2008.
On 28 February 2020, a report was made to police identifying an online user posting hateful and racist comments and demonstrating support of an extreme right-wing ideology.
An investigation was conducted by Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW) and, aided by Counter Terrorism Command, identified the online user to be Leech.
Further research identified many more online postings by Leech, including comments of an anti-Semitic and racist nature.
Leech was arrested at his home address in November 2020 but, after being released on bail, posted more material online.
During the examination of Leech’s digital devices, a number of offences were discovered including indecent images of children and in February 2021 he was further arrested on suspicion of making indecent images of children. In December 2021 he pleaded guilty to seven offences.
Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, head of CTPNW investigations, said: “Leech’s comments and behaviour online was despicable and a thorough investigation was able to identify these posts and evidence them before the courts.
“CTPNW will always take complaints of this nature very seriously and exercise full powers to bring offenders to justice.”