Jail for man who wore Ku Klux Klan outfit and posed with lynched golliwog
Ex-National Front member Christopher Philips gets 12 months for distributing visual images intended to stir racial hatred
A university graduate who posted footage of himself online dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume hanging a life-sized golliwog doll has been jailed for 12 months.
Christopher Philips, a 24-year-old kickboxing tutor who was drummed out of the National Front, reportedly because his views were considered too extreme, wore the white robes and hood at a far-right demonstration and at a music gig.
He was arrested by counter-terrorism officers after footage of him in the costume – which was purchased from Florida – was posted on YouTube and appeared on Facebook.
The sentencing judge at Wolverhampton crown court, John Warner, told Philips that citizens were allowed to hold extreme and offensive views could not disseminate material intended to stir up racial unrest. The judge told Philips, who has Asperger syndrome, that the images were so inflammatory there was no choice but for him to be jailed.
Warner also made Philips the subject of an anti-social behaviour order banning him from attending extremist events, posting or distributing extremist or racist material, putting up racist posters and making racist gestures.
Prosecuting, Simon Davies said that on 9 March last year Philips went to a far-right White Pride World Wide demonstration in Swansea. Later he attended a music event at the Valley Commando Motorcycle Club, at Abercynon, near Pontypridd, where he was photographed and filmed in the KKK outfit.
On 12 March three videos showing a man in a KKK outfit were posted on YouTube and later appeared on Facebook. Two weeks later police from the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit raided Philips’ home and seized a laptop and white KKK outfit.
Police also found a flag bearing the slogan White Pride World Wide, and a copy of a letter to a German acquaintance of Philips from the Norwegian far-right extremist and mass murderer Anders Breivik.
During his police interview Philips told officers: “I just feel stronger towards my own; my own ethnic group – white people.” He admitted posting the video footage, filmed by a friend, then sending the links so the footage could be seen by his friends.
He told detectives he “didn’t even think about anybody who might be offended” but had just wanted to impress his friends.
Philips admitted distributing a recording of visual images intended to stir up racial hatred. Warner told him: “It does not require advanced education or knowledge of history to know what you were seeking to convey might cause offence.”
The judge described the defendant’s admiration for the notorious figures of the Ku Klux Klan as “abhorrent”. Warner also flagged up a manifesto in which Philips had claimed that democracy had been a failure and what was needed was a dictatorship, with him as the leader.
Warner continued: “In our democracy people are allowed to hold extreme, bizarre and offensive views.” But citizens were not allowed to disseminate material that was threatening or offensive and likely to stir up racial hatred.
Philips, who also belonged to a group called the West Midlands Infidels, was described as a man with no friends by his defence barrister, Theresa Starr.
She said: “He had no friends, and was bullied at a special school for pupils with Asperger’s. He went to university and made no friends. He then developed this interest, which led him to end up in this court.”
Starr added: “He believed the only people who admired him were his nationalist friends, which is why he behaved in that manner.”
Philips used a string of offensive pseudonyms for various online postings. On one he wrote: “I am a Wasp (white Anglo-Saxon protestant) who is English as far back as my ancestry can be traced. Therefore I am an indigenous native to these British Isles … I am still 100% white and of the Adamic race. All white people are descended from Adam and Eve.”
At an earlier hearing Philips made a white supremacist gesture as he left court.