Sick WhatsApp messages, a Nazi-style mask and an anarchist cookbook: ‘arrogant’ Cambridge graduate, 24, jailed on terrorism charges



A Cambridge graduate was called “arrogant” and “highly manipulative” while jailed for a terrorism offense.

Oliver Bel, 24, was locked up for two years after discovering he had the “Anarchist Cookbook”, which contains instructions on how to make a bomb.

Bel also posted Racist Hate Online, where he sympathized with the Nazis and made anti-Semitic comments.

He also described homosexuality as “kinky” and in a WhatsApp chat said “kill all n ******”.

On Facebook, Bel said he wanted to “party”.

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“The real concern in your case was that your conduct may have the effect of encouraging other people with an extreme state of mind to take an extreme course,” Judge Alan Conrad QC said at Manchester Crown Court.

The judge said Bel, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, can “exploit ‘his condition’ when it suits him” and described him as “highly manipulative”.

Bel refused to wear a face mask under coronavirus rules at the start of his trial, but complied after the judge said he could withdraw his bail and place him in pre-trial detention.

He said it was his “human right” not to wear a mask, then claimed that wearing a mask would affect his health.

“Photographs retrieved from your phone showed you that you wore a Nazi-type mask quite willingly,” the judge said.

“All of this shows that you are an arrogant young man, who was trying to assert his authority over the court, and who believes himself superior to others.”

Manchester Crown Court

Bel, who graduated from Pembroke College at Cambridge University after studying mathematics, was convicted of possession of a document containing information useful for terrorism after a trial.

“Your statements were heinous to all in their right mind, as were the despicable messages you kept on your cell phone, a device you didn’t want the police to own and deceptively trying to cover up,” the judge said.

“I stress that I am not punishing you for your political opinions, which, however repulsive they are, were opinions that you are entitled to have, provided you do not cross the line of criminality.

“I observe, however, how deeply disheartening to see a young man like you, blessed with high intelligence, whose heart is filled with so much hatred for all kinds of people who have done you no harm and which pose no threat to you. “

Bel came to the attention of the Counterterrorism Unit in Cambridge, after his guardian reported anti-Semitic comments he posted online.

He encountered the police as part of the Prevent program, but his behavior continued.

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After revealing that he was the author of leaked posts on the far-right Iron March website, police attended his home in Salford.

In an article, Bel had described the Jews as “parasites” and declared that “extermination is the best option” for them “.

During a search of the property, Bel told officers he had the anarchist cookbook.

It was discovered that he had been in contact with like-minded people including Alex Davies, the founder of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

During last month’s trial, Bel claimed he had the document for academic research.

Her lawyer Abigail Bright had asked that Bel be spared jail time, but the judge said the case was too serious.

The court heard that the probation service found he had a “complete lack of understanding” of the seriousness of his actions.

“Unfortunately, the signs do not bode well for your rehabilitation at this time,” Judge Conrad said.

Bel, from Eccles Old Road, received a two-year sentence, with an additional year on the license.

Following the hearing, Superintendent Will Chatterton, Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said: “Although Bel pleaded not guilty to the charges, the evidence presented in court by the investigative team led him to be imprisoned and I hope that shows the determination we have to eradicate this type of extremely dangerous terrorist activity.

“We are committed to bringing to justice anyone who poses a risk to our communities and I urge the public to immediately report any concerns about suspicious behavior to us.

“The reporting will not ruin lives, but it could save them.”



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