25 Jun 2015

National Action’s Zack Davies guilty of attempted murder

A young neo-Nazi extremist who was radicalised online is found guilty of attempted murder at a court in North Wales. Zack Davies tried to decapitate a man because he was Asian.

Zack Davies posted an image of himself in a balaclava with a large knife and the flag of the far-right group National Action hours before he carried out his violent racist attack.

The 26-year-old went to his local Tesco on 14 January, where he used a claw hammer and machete to attack Dr Sarandev Bhambra, shouting: “This is for Lee Rigby.”

During the frenzied attack he repeatedly hacked at his victim, who used his arm to defend his neck from the blade – leaving him with life-changing injuries. A soldier intervened to stop the attack and save the man’s life.

White supremacist

Davies said he chose his victim because he “looked Asian”. A large amount of white supremacist material was found when police searched his house. He was also obsessed with the “no compromise” tactics of the group called Islamic State and Jihadi John, who has appeared in its films decapitating western hostages.

He told police: “It was irrelevant what religion he was. It was his appearance just the way he looked. It did not matter to me what religion he was, it was his racial appearance.”

Speaking after the jury gave its verdict, the victim’s brother Dr Tarlochan Singh Bhambra said that, had the “racial disposition” of the attack been reversed, it would have been “reported as an act of terror”.

He said: “We are in no doubt, given the racial and political motivations, that this should have been rightly defined as an act of terrorism. By his own admission, the defendant Zack Davies had extreme neo-Nazi views and is a member of a white supremacist organisation.

“Sarandev was singled out because of the colour of his skin. The media have a responsibility and an obligation to report these aspects of the trial and bring to the fore the major implications of this.”

Zack Davies was not well known to far-right monitoring groups, though National Action and the violent activists they associate with regularly wear masks on protests to hide their identities. He had built up relationships online with members of the group, sharing childish and offensive far-right images.

Neo-Nazi videos

A YouTube channel seen by Channel 4 News that was owned by Davies is filled with neo-Nazi videos. In one clip, he poses with a straight-armed salute similar to Anders Breivik’s infamous gesture.

In a police interview read to the court, Davies stated: “Rising Jihadi violence, most recently in France, the rise of Isis in the Middle East, and what happened to Lee Rigby – it was like Europe was under siege. My personal issues and paranoia and political world events all combined.”

Matt Collins, of extremist monitoring group Hope Not Hate and author of Hate, told Channel 4 News: “Davies was clearly disturbed and appears to have been radicalised by the online activities of a group that promised him some kind of kinship.

“Evidence we have seen suggests he was very childish and keen to impress others who filled his head up with rubbish. Why aren’t they in court, too?”

Rise of National Action

After the collapse of the BNP and EDL, some of the most extreme leftovers of both groups joined together under the umbrella of National Action. Far-right extremism monitoring groups have repeatedly warned that as the far right splinters it is becoming more volatile.

This new group is overtly aligned to Nazism, their members have outlined an ideology calling for “White Jihad” and promote a lone wolf approach to activism.

National Action regularly posts videos online showing themselves training to fight, spraying anti-Semitic graffiti and carrying out flash mob actions.

The group also helped to promote “Isis-inspired” neo-Nazi training camps (picture above) inside the UK where members learned hand-to-hand combat and trained with knives. One camp held in Wales last year screened Isis training videos and was attended by leading NA members, though it is not known if Davies ever attended these events.

Channel 4 News tracked the group in Newcastle upon Tyne earlier this year where they marched alongside a known fighter from Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion. National Action leaders have travelled across Europe building alliances and joining hardline protests.