Jonathan Sandiford successfully prosecuted Ethan Stables for preparing acts of terrorism in respect of plan to attack a Gay Pride event in Cumbria.
Ethan Stables, 20, was convicted of preparing an act of terrorism after planning to carry out a machete attack on a gay pride event in Cumbria. Stables had a history of posting comments on a far-right Facebook group, including saying he was “going to war” and that he planned to “slaughter every single one of the gay bastards”. After being tipped off by someone in the Facebook group, the police arrested an unarmed Stables on 23 June while he was on his way to the pub which would host the gay pride event.
Stables denied doing a ‘recce’ of the pub which was hosting the gay pride event, but police found his internet search history included questions such as “how to make chemical poison”, “what is prison like for a murderer”, “I want to go on a killing spree” and “do you get haircuts in prison”. The jury was also shown a video of Stables setting a rainbow flag alight, saying “Look at it, that rainbow, so much nicer when it’s on fire. It’s just like gay people. Much nicer when they’re on fire.”
In the video he also talked about joining the DUP to “execute gay people” and the English Defence League. While searching Stables’ bedroom, police bodycam footage showed a large Nazi flag on the wall, a series of knives, air rifle machete, and material that could have been used to make a credible bomb. Stables had also previously blamed his unemployment on “faggots, niggers, spastics” and the Equalities Act, and in a WhatsApp message a month before his arrest had said, “My country is being raped … I might just become a skinhead and kill people.”
Police were alerted to a conversation on Facebook where Stables said , “There’s a pride night. I’m going to walk in with a machete and slaughter every single one of them.” He added: “I don’t care if I die. I’m fighting for what I believe in and that is the future of my country, my folk and my race.”
During the trial, Stables’ barrister described him as “lonely and inadequate”, arguing that he was a “white fantasist” and not a white supremacist. Stables told the court he was ashamed of the racist and homophobic comments he made online and claimed he was in fact bisexual and politically liberal, only making the comments to fit in with his online contacts.
Stables’ mother, Elaine Asbury, gave evidence in court, saying her son had been radicalised when he visited his girlfriend in Germany. After seeking little support from mental health services in looking after her autistic son, she threw him out of her home when he was 17 after he threatened to decapitate her and burn her house down.
Stables showed no reaction as the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts at Leeds Crown Court. He was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.