Teenage neo-Nazi who planned suicide bomb attack on synagogue jailed for eight years

A sixth form student from Brighton who drew up plans for a suicide bomb attack on a local synagogue has been jailed for eight years for terrorism offences.

Mason Reynolds, 19, from Moulscoomb was a student studying bricklaying and roofing and doing part-time labouring work on the side.

He lived with his parents and was described as leading "in many ways, a not untypical existence of a young man in his late teens".

However, Naomi Parsons, prosecuting, told Winchester Crown Court that Reynolds was a neo-Nazi who believed the white race was "destined to dominate the rest of mankind".

She said Reynolds "does not find himself here because he has political, racial or ideological views that some may find distasteful or indeed abhorrent".

"He is here because he has not just held those political, racial and ideological views, he has acted on them."

When Reynolds was arrested, police found a note on his phone created on 7 May 2023 entitled "Enough Larping" - a call to action that referred to ending his "live action role play".

The note included a 13-second video from Google Maps showing the exterior of Hove Synagogue, and Reynolds had listed its address and the CCTV cameras and fire exits.

He added: "Possible buzzer to get into the building, 1 camera on left side (side entrance locked by gate)."

On another image he had marked "quickest and efficient way in", adding: "Could be good for surprise attack."

Reynolds had attached images of synagogues in Missouri and Washington in the US and in Edinburgh as "examples of what to expect inside".

Underneath he had written: "The Jewish holidays that tend to have the most people in synagogues are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover."

In June, Reynolds produced an image on a video app called CapCut with the words "Make Jews Afraid Again".

Later on the same day, a discussion took place on Telegram with another teenager using the sign-on AR15 - a reference to an assault rifle.

Reynolds told him: "I wanna strap multiple pipe [bombs] to my chest and blow myself up inside a synagogue… I have a plan."

Without identifying his target, he told the other user: "They won't let me through the buzzer door if suspicious, like Stephan Balliet" - a reference to a German-born neo-Nazi who used homemade weapons to kill two people, after failing to get into a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in October 2019.

Police also discovered Reynolds had copies of the Mujahideen's Explosives Handbook, the Terrorist's Handbook, and the Anarchist Cookbook on his computer, along with files used to make a 3D printed assault rifle called the FGC-9.

Reynolds was one of two administrators for the "Far-Right Sigmas" channel on the Telegram app, a neo-Nazi propaganda channel which was set up in late November 2022 by "AR15" in Poland.

The channel promoted the view that society was in decay and the fault lay with Jewish people who controlled the financial institutions, the media and encouraged immigration, resulting in the "dilution" of the white race.

The channel had nearly 350 subscribers and produced content that glorified Nazis including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Waffen SS, as well as far-right killers including Anders Breivik, Brenton Tarrant, and Dylann Roof, who killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"It hoped, it seems, to create neo-Nazis of the future," Ms Parsons said.

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One of the clips circulated by Reynolds featured Stephan Balliet, who livestreamed his attempted attack with homemade rifles and bombs.

Speaking of Tarrant, who livestreamed an attack that killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Reynolds commented: "It'd be 10x better seeing Jews get killed."

In the channel's chatroom, Reynolds also distributed videos of the Christchurch attack, and Breivik's attack in Norway in 2011, which killed 67 people.

Much of the material on the channel was edited from propaganda produced by an organisation called Atomwaffen Division, a US based terrorist organisation banned by the UK government in July 2021.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing material useful for terrorism and five offences of distributing material likely to encourage terrorism. He was found guilty of possessing an article for terrorist purposes.

After his arrest, Reynolds told police he was hurt that his friends viewed him as someone who was "all talk and no action" and wanted them to stop calling him a "LARP" - live action role player.

He had written the note in 15 minutes, forgot to delete it and thought no more about it, he said.

Jailing Reynolds for eight years with an extended licence of five years, Mrs Justice May accepted that he did nothing to carry his plan and that his "secret life" was now out in the open.

But she said she considered him "dangerous" and added: "These ideas are immensely attractive, to young men in particular, and while only a small fraction of those who hold these beliefs act on them, the consequences are catastrophic as history has shown."