A neo-Nazi troll in the UK has been found guilty of the racially aggravated harassment of Jewish Labour Member of Parliament Luciana Berger after making a series of antisemitic rants in which he called her “a filthy Jew b***h” and compared her to a rodent.
Joshua Bonehill-Paine, 24, began making vile remarks about the Liverpool Wavertree MP on his white supremacist blog in retaliation for the prosecution of another right-wing extremist, Garron Helm, who had targeted Ms Berger on Twitter in 2014.
Helm was sent to prison in 2014 after he admitted to tweeting a picture of Ms Berger with a Holocaust-era Star of David photoshopped onto her forehead with the caption “Hitler was right.”
Even though Helm pleaded guilty, Bonehill-Paine thought he had been wrongly convicted and in 2014 launched a full-blown anti-semitic campaign against Ms Berger which he called “Operation Filthy Jew B***h.”
Over the next four months, he regularly posted articles on his blog dubbing the politician a “dominatrix”; a “money grabber”; and “evil”.
He also accused Ms Berger of being responsible for the death of Jesus, prosecutor Philip Stott told the Old Bailey – the Central Criminal Court in London. He illustrated his blog posts with offensive imagery, including a picture of a rat with Berger’s face superimposed on it.
Ms Berger told the court she felt “sick” and “very much under attack” after reading Bonehill-Paine’s posts. She also told jurors that she feared for her safety because “what happens online does not always stay online”.
Defending the far-right nationalist, barrister James Palfrey called his attacks “pathetic puerile rubbish” and argued that they fell within his rights to freedom of speech.
The jury deliberated for just over one hour on Wednesday before declaring Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment. He was sentenced to two years in prison.
The defendant, who had previously denied any wrongdoing citing his rights to free speech, smirked upon hearing the verdict.
The jury was not told that Bonehill-Paine is already currently serving three years and four months in jail after he was found guilty of inciting racial hatred for promoting a neo-Nazi “anti-Jewification” rally in London last December.
He had encouraged people to attend the event and circulated a flyer featuring a weed killer being sprayed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, promising it would be “an absolute gas”.
After the verdict, Ms Berger said she hoped the conviction would send a “strong signal” to all those suffering from harassment and she encouraged others to come forward.
“Together we can show that they are not, nor will they ever be, tolerated,” she said.