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Man guilty of terrorism offences over extremist publications

A man has been convicted of committing terrorism offences after he was found guilty of distributing extremist publications. 

The man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was found guilty of two charges of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication.

A 33-year-old soldier – Mikko Vehvilainen - was also found guilty but details of this offence cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Mikko Vehvilainen
Mikko Vehvilainen

Vehvilainen, who is a lance corporal working as a trainer in the army and born in Finland, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) at his army base in Brecon, Powys in September 2017.

At an earlier hearing, Vehvilainen admitted a separate offence of being in possession of pepper spray.

Following a search of his military address, officers found a war hammer which had "Isaiah 48:22" carved into the handle referencing a passage from the Bible - "There is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked".

The warhammer
The warhammer

Also found were throwing knives, two crossbows, a number of arrows and component parts of an electromagnetic pulse device. A mannequin was found in Vehvilainen’s garage which had knife marks in the torso area. 

Vehvilainen's weapons
Hunting knives
The hunting knife
The spray cannister
The pepper spray
Vehvilainen's knife and machete

A third man, 24-year-old Mark Barrett - a private in the military − also stood trial and was found not guilty of an offence which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, who heads the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "We are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten public safety and security.”
 
Anyone who sees or hears something that could be terrorist-related should act on their instincts and call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999. Visit gov.uk/ACT for more information, including how to report extremist or terrorist content that is online.
 

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