April 2022

Teenage neo-Nazi from Preston who ‘glorified and encouraged’ far-right terrorism locked up

A 19-year-old man who posted extreme right-wing and racist material online and who made indecent photographs or ‘pseudo-photographs’ of a child has been jailed for two years.

Thomas Leech, of Derby Drive, Preston, pleaded guilty to seven charges, including three counts of publishing a statement intending members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced to commit, prepare, or instigate acts of terrorism contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.

He also pleaded guilty to four other offences not covered by terrorism legislation.

These were:

  • Publishing or distributing written material which was threatening

  • Abusive or insulting intending thereby to stir up racial hatred,

  • 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 four indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child.

He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court today, where he was also given a 12 month extended licence 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 Four of the Terrorism Act 2008.

On February 28, 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.