A far-right U.K. extremist with “deep-rooted anti-Semitic beliefs” pleaded guilty to arson and terrorism charges after CCTV footage caught him pouring gasoline into a synagogue and then setting the house of worship ablaze.
Tristan Morgan, 51, admitted to arson, to having a white supremacist handbook and to encouraging terrorism by publishing a song titled, ‘White Man,’ to Soundcloud, reports CNN.
According to CCTV footage recovered at the scene, Morgan can be seen breaking a window with a small ax and pouring an accelerant inside the Exeter Synagogue on July 21, 2018—on a day commemorating the Holocaust.
When Morgan attempted to light the accelerant, he was briefly engulfed by a sudden jet of fire which blew off his cap and singed his hair.
As he walked away from the scene, he could be seen patting his head, which was still singed, laughing as he entered his vehicle parked a few feet away, witnesses told the judge.
The fireball left him with burns on his hands and forehead, Press Association (PA) reports.
“The footage, which was played in open court, shows the level of planning, determination and intent by Morgan, whom the wider evidence clearly showed held abhorrent extreme right-wing, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist views,” Police Superintendent Matt Lawler said in a statement.
“Morgan is clearly very unwell and following multiple detailed medical assessments it is clear that a hospital order is appropriate, ” he added.
Police say Morgan smelled of gasoline when he was apprehended and told arresting officers: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the groundif not, it’s poor preparation.”
“It is only by sheer chance that the Synagogue was empty and indeed that Morgan himself sustained only minor burns,” Police Superintendent Lawler said in a statement.
Morgan has been locked up in a UK hospital indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after the court heard that he was having a psychotic episode during the time of the attack.