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Revealed: Soldier who planned all-whites stronghold near Oswestry is jailed

By Dominic Robertson | Oswestry | Crime | Published:

A neo-Nazi soldier who wanted to build an all-whites stronghold in a village near Oswestry has been jailed for eight years for being part of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, it can now be revealed.

Top: Mikko Vehvilainen pictured performing a Nazi salute. Bottom left: Deakin, bottom centre, Vehvilainen’s weaponry; right Vehvilainen.

Mikko Vehvilainen, who was renovating a house at Llansilin, near Oswestry, was based at the Sennybridge Camp Army base in Brecon, Powys.

The Royal Anglian Regiment soldier, originally from Finland, was jailed in April for three-and-a-half years for possession of a banned CS gas cannister.

He was also jailed for eight years for membership of National Action – but details can only be confirmed now reporting restrictions have been lifted.

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It comes after six people were yesterday jailed for also being members of the group, which was formed in 2013.

Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Leicester; Adam Thomas, 22, and 38-year-old Claudia Patatas, both of Banbury, Oxfordshire, were all found guilty. Joel Wilmore, 24, of Stockport; Darren Fletcher, 28, of Wolverhampton, and Nathan Pryke, 27, of Cambridge, all previously admitted their membership.

The court heard that Thomas and Patatas had given their child the middle name Adolf, which Thomas said was in “admiration” of Hitler.

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Top to bottom and left to right: Thomas in KKK robes holding son; Thomas with knife; Patatas and Thomas with son; Fletcher, Thomas and Patatas; Thomas and Fletcher and Thomas with crossbow

Photographs recovered from their home also showed Thomas cradling his newborn son while wearing the hooded white robes of a Ku Klux Klansman.

Afghanistan battle veteran Vehvilainen was said to have been at the heart of the group which had set its sights on recruiting within the armed forces.

Before his conviction, married father of three Vehvilainen was considered an “outstanding” soldier who had risked his life for Queen and country.

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The fallout from his trial led to Sergeant Major Glenn Haughton posting a social media video which said: “If you’re a serving soldier or a would-be soldier, and you hold these intolerant and extremist views, as far as I’m concerned, there is no place for you in the British Army – so get out.”

It was in the house in Llansilin that police found a photograph showing Vehvilainen giving a Nazi-style salute at a 1917 memorial to his native Finland’s independence.

Adam Thomas and Darren Fletcher

Officers also uncovered what prosecutors described as an arsenal of weapons, including a war hammer, a legally held shotgun, swastika bunting and other Nazi paraphernalia.

In the garage of his house at Sennybridge he kept a makeshift target dummy and body armour which had been painted black.

He had a part-time job at an activity centre nearby, and had served with distinction since joining the Army in 2012.

Pavlos Panayi QC told the trial judge: “His career in the Army is over and he leaves having brought dishonour on himself.”

When he was arrested Vehvilainen told his wife: “I’m being arrested for being a patriot.”

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He admitted possession of a banned pepper spray before his trial, but was cleared of having a document useful to a terrorist and two counts of stirring up racial hatred in online forum posts.

The head of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward said: “Vehvilainen’s role typified the progress that National Action wanted; he was a non-commissioned officer in the British Army with access to young men who could be radicalised and recruited into the group. He was an incredibly dangerous individual and a key part of the National Action strategy.”

Vehvilainen had appeared in the Birmingham Crown Court dock at his trial alongside fellow 2 Anglians soldier Private Mark Barrett, who was also accused of membership of the banned group.

Barrett was acquitted of being a National Action member, but jurors heard that he had a cardboard swastika openly displayed on his windowsill at Alexander Barracks in Cyprus.

The 25-year-old told police during interviews that his sketchbook doodles of the Nazi symbol and Second World War German tanks had been at the behest of “intimidating” Vehvilainen.

Earlier this year, Alex Deakin, 24, was also jailed for eight years for being a member of National Action.

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