A right wing extremist who was caught with a bomb making kit was jailed for 12 years today for terrorism and explosives offences.
Peter Morgan was found to have collected explosive powder, fuses, screws and steel tacks along with a glass bottle studded with lead shot and nail gun rounds.
A judge told Morgan at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have been convicted of two charges under the Terrorism Act and one charge under the Explosives Substancs Act 1883.”
Lord Boyd of Duncansby said: “These charges threaten the safety of the public, our values as a democracy and strike at the dignity and respect which all members of our community are entitled to expect whatever their race or religion.”
The judge told him: “You assert your right to freedom of speech. However abhorrent some may find your view, you are entitled to hold them.”
“What you are not entitled to do is to act on these views for the purpose of committing or preparing an act of terrorism,” said the judge.
Lord Boyd said: “Of most concern is that you not only possessed the ingredients for the making of an improvised explosive device but you had begun to assemble it.”
The judge said it was clear that the jury at Morgan’s earlier trial had rejected his claim during his evidence that he only planned to blow up a frozen turkey and film it for Youtube.
Lord Boyd pointed out that while Morgan had told a social worker who prepared a background report on him that he would never collect such material again but he did not disavow his political views.
The judge ordered that Morgan should be kept under supervision for a further three years when he can be returned to prison if he breaches licence conditions.
An Army bomb disposal expert called to Morgan’s flat in Edinburgh said a “quite effective, viable” improvised explosive device (IED) could be made from the items discovered.
Sergeant Liam Davies told the court: “I believe that this is a bomb in construction or waiting to be constructed.”
Police also discovered that the 35-year-old had downloaded an international application form to become “a loyal white knight of the Ku Klux Klan”. He also sent a message stating: “I just hate the f---ing Muslims. Don’t want any more of those f---ers up here.”
He had amassed a collection of neo-Nazi, anti-muslim and anti-semitic and racist material at his home.
Morgan’s trial heard that he was “quite proud” to be part of the Scottish Defence League and travelled with others from the far right group to attend a white pride rally in Manchester in 2015.
He was photographed at the march with his hood up carrying a Scottish saltire flag and holding a “white pride worldwide” poster.
Morgan had earlier denied committing offences under the Terrorism Act and Explosives Substances Act but was found guilty of three offences.
Between April 2012 and July last year at his flat in Taylor Place, in Edinburgh, he possessed items which gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that it was for a purpose “connected with the commission, preparation of instigation of an act of terrorism”.
They included manuals, guides and instructions on firearms and explosive devices, explosive powder, ball bearings and pyrotechnic fuses.
He also collected or recorded information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and possessing items with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury.
Sergeant Davies told the court that the completed IED could cause “horrific injury” with severe bleeding and potential death.
The experienced explosive ordnance disposal soldier said the potential shrapnel glued to the outside of the vinegar shaker bottle was telling and if the screws and tacks were put in with an explosive mixture placed inside it it would add to the fragmentation effect.
During a search of Morgan’s home police also found a Nazi swastika flag, a German World War Two dagger and far right literature including a PDF of the “Turner Diaries” regarded as a bible of the American racist right.
Morgan had also acquired copes of an Alqaeda terrorism manual, an IRA volunteers handbook on guerilla warfare and works on turning guns into fully automatic weapons as well as guides of explosives and interrogation techniques.
The court heard that emergency services originally attended at the block of flats where he lived on July 2 last year after a young woman collapsed and was found to have no pulse.
A resident said that she previously saw the woman at Morgan’s flat and police decided to force entry because of concern for others.
No one was in the flat at the time but officers noted drugs paraphernalia such as needles and scales and the premises were secured. Morgan was later seen nearby.
Specialist search officers were dispatched to the house and right wing flags, leaflets and stickers were found. As the search continued they discovered the vinegar bottle with lead shot and cartridges attached to it.
A large quantity of commercial fireworks were found, some of which had been taken apart. A dagger bearing the symbol of an eagle mounted of a swastika was recovered under a sofa in the living room.
DC Murray Cairns said a decision was taken to seize the items in the flat with the assistance of the military.
He said the sergeant viewed the items found in a bottom drawer of a chest of drawers and added: “He agreed it was potential component parts of an improvised explosive device.”
Former window cleaner Morgan, who was on a prescription for the heroin substitute methadone, later told detectives that he was “more of a left leaning person” and voted for the Scottish National Party.
When arrested he said: “How can they get away with charging me for fireworks you can buy out of shops. It’s not like a bomb’s been made out of them. It’s not like they have injured people.”
He told police that he liked playing on the internet and said: “I have got friends all around the world.”
Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder said Morgan had an “atrocious” upbringing, including care homes and foster placements and began abusing drugs at the age of 11.
He told the court: “He is not shy about the political and social views that he said he legitimately holds.”