BNP leader Nick Griffin’s bodyguard arrested
Homophobic abuse allegation prompts police visit to BNP fundraiser to arrest the bodyguard of leader Nick Griffin
The bodyguard of British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been arrested by police investigating homophobic abuse allegations.
Martin Reynolds, 46, was taken into police custody from a fundraising event for the far-right party in St Helens on Saturday night.
Merseyside Police confirmed officers were called to the Thatto Heath area by a woman who complained a man had made a derogatory comment to her.
Mr Reynolds, who is from Leeds, was arrested on suspicion of an aggravated public order offence and taken to College Street police station for questioning.
The arrest was captured by photographers at the fundraiser who posted pictures on the BNP’s Facebook page, showing Mr Griffin looking on as his bodyguard was led away by officers.
Video posted online showed party supporters confronting police, and accusing them of unfairly targeting Mr Reynolds during the arrest.
Mr Reynolds spent the night in the cells before being released. Police said their investigation into the incident was continuing.
Supporters of the BNP took to social media to condemn the arrest, claiming that the police action was “politically motivated”.
In a statement Merseyside Police said their attendance at the event was in response to a call from a member of the public.
It said: “Patrols attended and, as a result of enquiries made at the scene, a 46-year-old man from the Leeds area was arrested on suspicion of a homophobically aggravated public order offence.
“An investigation into the full circumstances surrounding the incident is continuing.”
Simon Darby, a spokesman for the BNP, described Merseyside Police as “the paramilitary wing of the Labour Party” for making the arrest.
“In Merseyside, arrests for alleged political incorrectness of any fashion are now as routine as speeding tickets for motorists,” he said.
In a message to supporters, Mr Darby added: “Merseyside Police trying to break up a British National Party election meeting for the local MEP Nick Griffin.
“A great night raising over £2500 for the election in May disrupted by police who handcuffed and dragged away BNP head of security, Martin Reynolds for no apparent reason.
“I don’t have to point out that Martin isn’t just a security guy, he’s a personal friend to many of us. This kind of intimidation not only gives us the political high ground, it also makes us all stronger. “