East Lothian far-right extremist jailed for downloading 'sinister, violent and disturbing' terrorist material

A far right extremist who downloaded “sinister, violent and disturbing” terrorist material has been sentenced to an extended jail term.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 2:08 pm
David Dudgeon.

David Dudgeon, 43, collected a range of disturbing books and videos featuring ISIS beheadings, material on the Holocaust denial and how to make explosives.

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The manuals and videos showed techniques on how to smuggle bombs on to planes, the manufacture of black powder explosives and the use of biological weapons.

The terror-related collection included the titles Bloody Brazilian Knife Fighting, Prison Killing Techniques and Krav Maga Knife Attacks.

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'Concerning and Unusual'

Dudgeon admitted possessing material useful to committing or preparing an act of terrorism over a six-year period when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year.

He returned for sentencing on Friday where Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC told him he had found the case “concerning and unusual”.

Sheriff O’Grady said: “The websites you accessed and the material you gleaned from them were sinister, violent and disturbing.

“Due to the circumstances and the nature of the charge I am bound to impose a custodial sentence.”

Dudgeon was jailed for two years backdated to April 1 this year.

He will also be supervised for 12 months following his release from prison.

Previously the court heard Dudgeon, from Prestonpans, was caught after a meeting between him and his psychiatrist had raised “concerns he posed a threat to public safety”.

Police were contacted in March this year and officers attended at the extremist’s home with a search warrant three days later and confiscated various items of computer equipment.

Prosecutor Emma Mitchell said Dudgeon’s internet history showed he had visited websites of “an extreme right wing nature” including Christian fundamentalism, ISIS murder videos and sites about former EDL founder Tommy Robinson.

The terror manuals were also said to include instructions on how to manufacture explosives, create biological weapons and how to inflict fatal and non-fatal blows using a knife.

The fiscal added a series of terror booklets with titles including Knife Talk 1 - The Art and Science of Knife Making, Deadly Knife Fighting Techniques Revealed and Russian Knife Fighting Combat were all downloaded and accessed by Dudgeon on July 1, 2015.

Following a no comment police interview Dudgeon was subsequently cautioned and charged under the Terrorism Act 2000.

'12 Hours a Day Online'

Solicitor Lesley Cunningham, defending, said her client had lived “a fairly isolated existence” and had been “struggling for some time with paranoid thoughts”.

Ms Cunningham added Dudgeon had stopped taking his psychotic medication around the time he had downloaded the material and had only viewed it on the same day he had downloaded it.

The brief added Dudgeon was prone to spending “up to 12 hours a day online” and had become “fixated on conspiracy theories”.

Dudgeon pleaded guilty to possessing material useful to committing or preparing an act of terrorism namely a quantity of texts, manuals, booklets, leaflets, video files relating to the production of chemical and biological weapons and techniques for knife fighting.

He also admitted possessing electronic copies of various terror-related documents at his home address between March 6, 2013 and March 29 this year.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “As a result of an investigation led by Police Scotland's East Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, 43-year-old David Dudgeon was arrested at his home in Prestonpans on Thursday 28th March 2019.

“He subsequently pled guilty to an offence under the Terrorism Act at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday 25th June and has been remanded in custody until he is sentenced.

“We remain committed to keeping Scotland's communities safe and will investigate any offences linked to terrorism with the utmost seriousness to bring those involved to justice.

“Police Scotland supports the national Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) campaign that aims to promote vigilance from our communities so that any activity that may be linked to terrorism can be reported to police and acted upon accordingly.

“Our advice in relation to these matters remains the same. Be alert, not alarmed, but contact us immediately with any concerns you may have.

“Members of the public can report suspicious activity to the police by calling Police Scotland on 101 or by calling or visiting the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or www.gov.uk/ACT "