Student responsible for racist and homophobic graffiti daubed around Cardiff is jailed after admitting a string of offences
A racist student who commemorated Hitler’s birthday by daubing a Swastika on the Senedd is today starting a 16-month jail term after admitting a string of offences.
Within two weeks of Elliott Richards-Good arriving in Cardiff to study at Cardiff University in 2018, racist and homophobic literature and graffiti began appearing around the city.
Following an initial investigation by South Wales Police, officers from the Wales Extremism Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU) tracked down the 20-year-old after piecing together CCTV which showed a cyclist with a GoPro camera strapped to his chest, riding from Cathays to the Senedd and back on the night the Nazi symbol appeared on the government building.
But it was after he was arrested at his home address in Cheltenham on September 20, 2018, that officers were able to link him to the further offending they suspected him of.
As well as locating the GoPro, which still contained the incriminating footage, officers recovered spray paints, gloves and clothing linking him to the incidents, as well as a number of System Resistance Network (SRN) posters. System Resistance Network is an emerging far-right movement, which has links to proscribed groups, National Action and NS131, but is not yet subject to a UK Government banning order.
Extreme right-wing books, laptops and a “goldmine” of a computer tower containing encrypted applications, and handwritten notes with email addresses and passwords linked to the SRN, were also found in his home.
Despite answering “no comment” in interview and refusing to hand over passwords to phones and other devices, officers were able to build an overwhelming case against Richards-Good, which included evidence that he targeted the route of Stand Up to Racism march in Grangetown in March 2018, and evidence he was actively recruiting members to the SRN.
Such was the strength of the case against him, Richards-Good pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court to 11 charges, including stirring up racial hatred, racially aggravated criminal damage, possession of material likely to stir up racial hatred, and possession of material likely to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
He was sentenced today to 16 months imprisonment. He was also made the subject of a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order.
Following the case, head of WECTU, Detective Superintendent Noel Harris, said: “Tackling extremism in all its forms is a priority for WECTU and South Wales Police and this case demonstrates that we are committed to working together to both prevent and detect it.
“Cardiff is a welcoming and vibrant multicultural city and Richards-Goods’ abhorrent views and actions rightly caused great concern amongst the local community. Our officers were determined to apprehend the person responsible as quickly as possible, both in order to prevent further offending and to send out a message to the community – and the minority who share Richards-Good’s racist ideologies – that it will not be tolerated.
“Richards-Good was actively recruiting others to join the SRN, who are extremely tech-savvy and go to great lengths to avoid detection by the authorities. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t follow his own advice and it was his own footage and material which helped convict him.
Det Supt Harris added: “It’s highly likely that Richards-Good raised some suspicion or concern amongst family of friends with his extreme views, but those concerns were never raised with the authorities.
“Our communities are our eyes and ears and anyone with concerns about someone’s beliefs or behaviour is urged to report it. No report is a waste of our time; please trust your instincts and tell us if something doesn’t feel right.”
Concerns and suspicions can be reported to South Wales Police via 101, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Online reports can also be made via https://act.campaign.gov.uk/ where there is also a wealth of further information available.