'Heretical Two' appear at Leeds Crown Court
18 June 2009
TWO men who skipped bail and fled to the US 11 months ago after a jury convicted them of peddling race-hate on the internet were yesterday back in the dock at Leeds Crown Court.
BNP reject Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle were convicted in Leeds last July of publishing racially inflammatory written material online.
A judge granted them bail before they were due to be sentenced.
But the far right pair skipped the country and jetted to Los Angeles in California where they claimed political asylum.
However, a US immigration judge turned down their asylum claim and Shepherd, 52, of Brook Street, Selby and York University graduate Whittle, 42, of Avenham Lane, Preston, waited for deportation back to the UK.
Both men admitted failing to answer bail when they apeared in court at a brief hearing in Leeds yesterday.
Judge Rodney Grant remanded both men in custody until sentencing on July 10.
Judge Grant said: "They must understand is at the forefront of my mind."
Mr. Davies, for Whittle said he has "substantial mitigation" because he came back to the UK voluntarily after the US authorities gave him the option of travelling to New Zealand instead.
Pony tailed Whittle, who nonchalantly read a book in the dock, contributed to Sheppard's website, which featured offensive material.
Thousands of far-right supporters logged on to the site to view more than 100 articles by Whittle, as well as items posted by Sheppard.
The investigation into Sheppard started in 2004 when copies of a pamphlet, Tales of the Holohoax, were pushed through the letterbox of a Blackpool synagogue and sent to a prominent Jewish academic.
Sheppard , was expelled from the British National Party in 1999, was also caught delivering racist pamphlets in NorthYorkshire.
Last July, the jury at Leeds convicted Sheppard of 16 charges relating to the possession, publication and distribution of racially inflammatory material.
Whittle, was convicted of five counts of publishing racially inflammatory material.