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Pictures reveal Met police officer's hidden life as member of neo-Nazi group

Connor Parker
·5-min read
Ben Hannam was found guilty of being a member of the far-right National Action group on Thursday. (PA)
Ben Hannam was found guilty of being a member of the far-right National Action group on Thursday. (PA)

The secret life of the first ever British police officer convicted of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi organisation have been revealed in pictures shared with the jury during his trial.

Pc Ben Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) following a trial at the Old Bailey.

He was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the Metropolitan Police and having terror documents detailing knife combat and making explosive devices - the judge told him faces a jail sentence.

The officer, who has autism, said he was "desperate to impress" an older NA organiser who gave him free stickers and badges.

Watch: Met Police officer who acted as recruiter for banned neo-Nazi terror group faces jail

Hannam’s association with NA ended before he began working for the Met and counter-terrorism officers acted "swiftly" once he had been identified as a suspect.

The ideology of NA was described in court as based on "Aryan purity" and hatred of non-white groups, particularly Jews.

The court was told members venerated Adolf Hitler as a "divine figure" and celebrated violence, including war and genocide.

During the trial, several pictures of Hannam's diary sketches, shots with other members, and paraphernalia belonging to the group were shown to the jury which revealed his second life as a member of the illegal organisation.

Sketches and diary entries

Various pictures of Hannam's diary were shared with the jury during the trial, some pages were just doodles but others contained references to far-right beliefs.

A shot of Hannam's diary (PA)
A shot of Hannam's diary (PA)
A page in Hannam's diary containing a NA symbol. (PA)
A page in Hannam's diary containing a NA symbol. (PA)

On one page Hannam kept a log of his membership of the NA, in another he described the members of the group as "a good bunch of lads" who he couldn't wait to get more involved with.

Doodles and notes in a notebook belonging to Hannam (PA)
Doodles and notes in a notebook belonging to Hannam (PA)
More notes about lessons Hannam learned from other members of the NA. (PA)
More notes about lessons Hannam learned from other members of the NA. (PA)
Doodles and notes in one of Hannam's notebooks. (PA)
Doodles and notes in one of Hannam's notebooks. (PA)

Other pages contained doodles of swastikas and other far-right symbols.

He also kept detailed notes of his meetings with other members and lessons they taught him, as well as note on group activities they could do like camping or 'cultural visits' to places like Westminster.

The diary also contained stickers and doodles referencing National Action.

Hannam's diary with a NA sticker. (PA)
Hannam's diary with a NA sticker. (PA)
Suggestions for group events in Hannam's diary. (PA)
Suggestions for group events in Hannam's diary. (PA)

Activities with members of NA

The court was also shown pictures of Hannam's meetings with members of NA, including at the national conference in Liverpool in April 2016, where he posed in an official photograph on Crosby Beach.

Hannam posing next to a National Action flag. (PA)
Hannam posing next to a National Action flag. (PA)
Hannam (second right) with other members of NA (PA)
Hannam (second right) with other members of NA (PA)
Hannam (second right) in another group NA picture. (PA)
Hannam (second right) in another group NA picture. (PA)

Hannam continued to meet high-profile people linked to the group in early 2017, despite the group being listed as a terrorist organisation after the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016.

The court was also shown a shot from a security camera that captured Hannam in January 2017 in a Swindon pub where he met NA co-founder Alex Davies and others.

Handout CCTV grab Benjamin Hannam a bar in Swindon where he met members of the NA. (PA)
Handout CCTV grab Benjamin Hannam a bar in Swindon where he met members of the NA. (PA)

The court was also shown pictures of Hannam taking part in outdoor boxing in woodland which was filmed on Davies’ camera in April 2017.

Hannam attending an outdoor boxing match with NA members. (PA)
Hannam attending an outdoor boxing match with NA members. (PA)
Hannam boxing with an NA member. (PA)
Hannam boxing with an NA member. (PA)

Just days before he applied to be a member of the Met he spray painted the symbol for an NA alias – NS131 – in a storm drain on the outskirts of Swindon, which was filmed for a promotional video.

In the film which was shown to the court, Hannam is heard to say: “Do you mind if I throw my hood up, thanks. My hair, my hair identifies me.”

Hannam spray painting graffiti with NA members. (PA)
Hannam spray painting graffiti with NA members. (PA)
Hannam spray painting NA symbols. (PA)
Hannam spray painting NA symbols. (PA)

Far-right paraphernalia

When police raided Hannam's home they found his bedroom full of references to far-right material and paraphernalia belonging to the NA.

NA badges belonging Hannam. (PA)
NA badges belonging Hannam. (PA)

Much of his room contained items you'd expect to find in a room belonging to a man in his late teens and early 20s like video games, movie posters and DVDs.

But elsewhere in his room police found NA badges, stickers containing images of far-right people and books about fascism. 

A sticker of Rudolf Hess belonging to Hannam. (PA)
A sticker of Rudolf Hess belonging to Hannam. (PA)
A shot of Hannam's bedroom. (PA)
A shot of Hannam's bedroom. (PA)
Posters on Hannam's bedroom wall. (PA)
Posters on Hannam's bedroom wall. (PA)

His cluttered room was littered with evidence of his fascination in military history and romanticisation of the Second World War.

Hannam's cluttered bedroom where police stickers and badges belonging to the NA. (PA)
Hannam's cluttered bedroom where police stickers and badges belonging to the NA. (PA)
Hannam in his bedroom. (PA)
Hannam in his bedroom. (PA)
Books in Hannam's bedroom. (PA).
Books in Hannam's bedroom. (PA).
Hannam's desk and bed. (PA)
Hannam's desk and bed. (PA)

His conviction was described as a “unique” case, according to Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism chief.

Commander Richard Smith said the force was investigating individuals linked to the Iron March forum and were "shocked" to find that of the individuals they were seeking to identify turned out to be a police officer.

“Ben Hannam obviously lied on his application form to join the Met. He would never have been able to join had we known then of his interest in the extreme right wing and his previous membership of National Action.

“Once we identified his involvement with that organisation, we took immediate steps to arrest him and put him before the court.”

He said there was no evidence that Hannam was part of a “deliberate” attempt by the extreme right to infiltrate the force.