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Far-right ‘reverend’ who exchanged letters with terrorists convicted of stirring up racial hatred

|News, Terrorism

The editor of a far-right website has been convicted of possessing racially inflammatory material including stickers that had been posted in and around Liverpool in 2021 as part of a campaign directing people to a website calling for the establishment of a white master race. 

James CostelloJames Costello, 38, was found with the stickers alongside other racist material and recordings he hosted on a website he ran. They were racially offensive and aimed to recruit people to join the violent destruction and subjugation of people of colour, black people and Jewish people. 

Costello, who called himself the Reverend, was found guilty of 18 offences of stirring up racial hatred after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court following an investigation by Merseyside Police. 

He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment today.

As part of the case the CPS used evidence to show his connection with other convicted terrorists, including National Action member Jack Renshaw, who was jailed for life in 2019 for planning to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper and who he had exchanged letters and postcards with.

Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "James Costello styled himself as a ‘Reverend’ as part of his ambition to try and stir up racial hatred wherever possible.

“The messages he posted were intended to sow disharmony and be a violent call to arms against black and Jewish people.

“Our prosecution was able to prove he was responsible for this racist material which should have no place in our society.

“It is right that he has been convicted today for these offences.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Milligan of Merseyside Police said: “I would like to thank members of the public for reporting this racist website to us so that we could launch a criminal investigation. I would also like to thank the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division for working with us on this investigation so we could achieve this result.

“Our detectives worked hard to identify and seize the material whilst also identifying Costello as the main contributor to the site.

“The racist and offensive material uncovered by our officers was deplorable and could have caused serious tensions, anguish and violence in our community.

“I hope this result show that online hate will not be tolerated and online offenders are not anonymous. Merseyside Police take all such reports seriously and we will continue to work hard to unmask and prosecute online offenders. This hate material will destroyed by our officers and anyone who creates it will be prosecuted and jailed for their crimes."

Notes to editors

  • James Costello [DOB: 08/01/1985] of Kirkby, Merseyside, was found guilty of:
    • 15 offences of Stirring up Racial Hatred by publishing material contrary to section 19(1) of the Public Order Act 1986
    • 3 offences of Stirring up Racial Hatred using a recording of sounds, contrary to section 21(1) of the Public Order Act 1986
    • 1 offence of Possessing Racially Inflammatory Material, contrary to section 23(1) of the Public Order Act 1986
  • The Counter Terrorism Division is responsible for prosecuting terrorism crimes and terrorist related offences in England and Wales. It also prosecutes allegations of incitement to racial and religious hatred, war crimes and crimes against humanity, official secrets cases, piracy and hijacking.

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