On January 16th this year, after spotting a subsequently (and speedily) deleted thread on the nazi Stormfront forum, Lancaster UAF reported http://22.214.171.124/lancasteruafblog/index.php?itemid=62 that Tony Lecomber, the British National Party's then Director of Group Development, had been sacked or had resigned after, in the phrase used in a hurriedly-released organisers' bulletin, 'making a serious error of judgement in speaking to a non-member about matters which could be misconstrued and which could thereby possibly have caused embarrassment to the party.'
Confirmation of this was almost immediately provided by the BNP itself. Its website was suddenly amended to show Nick Cass taking over Lecomber's role in the party (eventually replaced by Sadie Graham). No other explanation was forthcoming and all questions asked on most of the far-right forums on the internet about the matter were almost instantly blocked and the forum threads themselves either locked or, in many cases, swiftly deleted.
Lecomber, in common with most of the leading figures in the BNP, has a background. In 1986, he was convicted on five counts for offences under the Explosives Act, including possession of homemade hand-grenades and electronic timing devices, and earned himself a derisory three year sentence. In 1991 he was sentenced to a further three years for unlawful wounding for his part in an attack on a Jewish teacher who he caught trying to peel off a BNP sticker at an underground station. He has a total of 12 convictions. Lecomber is generally regarded as something of an organisational whiz and is largely held responsible (and you can read that whichever way you like) as the architect of Nick Griffin's eventual success over BNP-founder John Tyndall in their fight for the BNP leadership.
For a short while, the truth of Lecomber's removal was unknown. While he had clearly been removed from his highly public position in the party, he was still working in the background, still being paid by the party and still retained his party membership. As the truth emerged though, Griffin was forced to act, removing Lecomber via his resignation after several organisers within the party threatened to quit if he wasn't openly dumped. Even then, he still worked for the party up to, and for all we know beyond, the May elections primarily in the North of England. Certainly, he attended a celebration party for the newly-elected BNP councillors at Barking and Dagenham, showing that he's still on the scene and still accepted within the BNP.
On April 4th, an open letter was printed http://126.96.36.199/lancasteruafblog/index.php?itemid=155 on another nazi forum (Vanguard) purporting to be from former Griffin bodyguard, Joe Owens, who himself had been forced to resign from the BNP after news of his extensive and violent gangland activities became public. Owens' letter, if true, blew the lid on precisely why Lecomber had been kicked out of the BNP - albeit in slow motion.
The letter alleged that Lecomber had approached Owens completely out of the blue, had arranged to meet with him and on meeting had proposed the assassination of establishment figures (Greg Dyke was specifically mentioned for some reason) thus 'targeting members of the establishment who are aiding and abetting the coloured invasion of this country'. As this meeting was to have taken place over the Christmas period, it can reasonably be assumed that the purpose of Lecomber's somewhat startling proposal was originally in some way intended to influence the outcome of the Griffin/Collett trial, due to begin on the following January 16th.
Owens claimed that he refused to have anything to do with any such 'mad scheme', and the two parted relatively amicably.
Owens' letter continues:
'After we parted company, I immediately rang Mark Collett [the BNP's Head of Publicity and the star of the Channel 4 documentary 'Young, Nazi and Proud': see http://188.8.131.52/lancasteruafblog/index.php?itemid=313 ] and told him of the conversation I just had with Lecomber, he like I was deeply shocked. I also rang Stevie Cartwright from Glasgow and he said he would call Warren Bennett, head of BNP security and he would inform him about this serious breach of security.
Warren Bennett and maybe Scott McLean, then informed Nick Griffin of the situation. I then received a phone call from Nick Griffin and briefly outlined to Nick the conversation I had with Lecomber.
We decided to meet up on Saturday 14th January at the Chester services on the M56 motorway to discuss this serious turn of events.
I met Nick that day during the afternoon and told him word for word the conversation I had with Lecomber, to my amazement Nick informed me Lecomber was suffering from diabetes and that diabetics were prone to mood swings, this he said “could explain Lecomber’s apparent leave of his senses”.
After I had stopped laughing, I said, “well, it must have been a long mood swing as I got the xmas card two weeks before xmas and I had the conversation 12th January with Lecomber”. To which Nick conceded I was right.
Nick and I spoke for some time and went over every possible scenario to explain his strange behaviour.We both then agreed the man was up to no good, in fact, Nick then said to me “this now explains why Searchlight has always known our exact membership numbers”.'
It's necessary to include some background here. Lecomber surprised everyone by only receiving a three-year sentence for the bombing incident back in 1985. Rumours have surfaced from time to time that he was recruited by the state at that time to provide information on the BNP in return for an extremely light sentence. Larry O'Hara, writing in Notes From the Borderland (NFB), Issue 7, http://www.borderland.co.uk/notes_from_the_borderland_006.htm cites several instances of Lecomber-related activity that certainly supports the possibility, but states clearly that the question of whether or not Lecomber is a state asset is still inconclusive.
Owens continues with his story. After having been told that Lecomber had been ordered to 'resign or fall on own sword', he was perturbed to discover that Lecomber was still working for the BNP and emailed Griffin to see if this was in fact the case. Griffin's response was somewhat startling. It explained that Lecomber was in the process of passing his job over to another senior member (presumably Sadie Graham) and that losing him 'was a great loss to the BNP and now leave the poor man alone.'
Suffering a minor apoplectic fit at this point, Owens fumes, 'Leave the poor man alone? The same poor man who tried to solicit me to murder people. I found this response from Griffin very strange indeed. Instead of using the full weight of a BNP tribunal to bring Lecomber to book and kicking him out of the party, Griffin was more concerned about Lecomber’s feelings.' He continues: 'I now challenge Lecomber and Griffin to refute one word I have written here, in fact I even made the offer to Griffin to pay for Lecomber to undergo a polygraph test if what I was saying wasn’t true. To date I have not been taken up on my offer.'
Not altogether surprising really, given the circumstances.
Recovering from his anger, Owens goes on to ask the question that should have been asked from the moment this incident first became public knowledge; '...why has Lecomber not received a visit from the police as I am sure they will be aware of his conspiracy to solicit murder?'
Perhaps the police are taking the view that it's one man's word against the other? Well, not quite. Larry O'Hara examines this particular point closely in NFB7 http://www.borderland.co.uk/notes_from_the_borderland_006.htm and draws some useful conclusions. Referring to the Lecomber resignation notice, he asks; '...what did Lecomber say that could be 'misconstrued' along the lines Owens alleges? On 15/1, Owens contacted Lecomber stating "if nothing illegal by you was said, then please inform now, what actually you said to me. Now if you admit what it was you were talking about, then why were you? And what if I'd said yes, what was the next stage? I can't believe you would embark on such a venture and think it would benefit Nationalism. You could only be asking me to do this, because someone as sent you. If I'm wrong, then why were you asking me to embark on this suicide mission?" This Owens email is consistent with his account of events, as you would expect, but of greater interest is Lecomber's lame same day reply, not what you would expect if he hadn't been soliciting to murder or similar. He tersely comments "I never said anything about the BNP. What I'm saying is as far as I'm concerned I just want to forget it". Tending to confirm Lecomber had said something beyond the pale, illegal even - if not, surely he would have denied it? On 17/1/06, Owens emailed Lecomber again. "I don't really know how far you would of went with this and were not going to know, but it was a suicide mission for you and whoever else you recruited". Lecomber's reply had no denial, but contained the seemingly corroborating passage "You're right, no one can fancy suicide very much. Least said, soonest mended I think".' It's difficult to draw anything from this exchange of emails other than the conclusion that Owens is telling the truth.
Owens, in wondering why Lecomber hasn't been visited by the police, has asked a damn good question and one that paradoxically more people are asking as this saga is apparently carefully suppressed. Where is the interest from the media? The only newspaper that's published the story so far is the Sunday Herald on May 28th. http://www.sundayherald.com/55980 Curiously, there was no follow-up to that story in the following Monday's tabloids and nothing else has happened with regard to the story except that Joe Owens - not Tony Lecomber, you'll note - has been proscribed by the BNP leadership and also, it is claimed, been questioned by a Special Branch detective named Brannigan brandishing a copy of Larry O'Hara's Indymedia posting reporting the murder plot allegations.
To be honest, it's not difficult to see why Joe Owens has been proscribed - though the big question here should be why the BNP leadership (primarily Nick Griffin, who has known Owen's history for years) didn't proscribe him ages ago. He has been described as 'Britain's number one contract killer and one of the country's most notorious race-hate white supremacists...leading neo-fascist...[former] personal bodyguard [for three years] of BNP boss Nick Griffin...professional assassin with seven alleged hits to his name...one of the top suspects for the slaying of TV presenter Jill Dando...[who] a Merseyside Police file describes as the £100,000-a-time gunman for the criminal gang led by cocaine baron Curtis Warren.'
Nevertheless, in this instance it appears to have been Lecomber who made the proposal, not Owens, and Lecomber who should have been on the end of any proscription notice from the BNP and/or any visits from the police/Special Branch.
Martin Webster, ex-National Front, joined in the fray, as we mentioned here http://184.108.40.206/lancasteruafblog/index.php?itemid=166 questioning the fact that the only person to have received a visit regarding this matter from the police was Joe Owens. 'I find this apparent police inactivity very puzzling in view of the fact that Lecomber's approach to Owens constitutes an incitement to terrorism - the kind of activity which has recently been the subject of stringent new laws following the '7/7' incidents.' A valid point and he's far from the only person to be surprised.
The proscription notice, which the BNP distributed to all organisers in the party, was, though belated, pretty clear. It states, '...Mr. Owens is now reported to be working with a mainstream journalist and publishing house on a book about his life. The proposed title: 'Nazi Assassin' indicates that this will be a sensationalist tease, as Joe Owens made it clear that he had rejected the old BNP neo-Nazi undercurrent before rejoining the party in 2001 after a period of some years of total political non-involvement. Furthermore, it is self-evident that, however many copies he hopes to sell, he is not going either to 'confess' to any illegalities, let alone assassinations. The best chance that he therefore has of making the book a commercial success is to play up his links with the BNP, including any continuing personal contact with party officials. In turn, from our point of view, the best way to continue our move towards the political mainstream is to ensure that those links are in the receding past, and not in the present'.
This seems to be deliberately missing a vital point. Back in April, Owens announced on a nazi forum that he was giving up on the memoirs on the grounds that he wasn't happy with the way they were going - too much had to be kept quiet for his own safety - and that his working relationship with his publishers and editors was breaking down. A few weeks ago, he wrote on the Vanguard forum, 'I will no longer be having anything to do with the writing of the so called 'Nazi Assassin'. As each day passed,one could see the hand of Searchlies [Searchlight] and the State, shaping and controlling the direction of the book'.
Since then, Owens and his publishers, Mainstream (Edindurgh), appear to have resumed communication and the book may be back on again but at the time the proscription notice was issued, Owens was clearly and publicly backing off from publishing. It's hard to believe that Nick Griffin and the leadership of the British National Party wouldn't have been aware of this; thus we have to look at other reasons for the proscription - and the only one that makes any sense is that the BNP want to keep Owens firmly at arms-length so he doesn't continue to spread his story about Lecomber through the ranks of the BNP. Had the BNP simply wanted to proscribe Owens for the damage his book could potentially do, they could, and should, have done that ages ago.
So why all this ducking and diving apparently to protect Tony Lecomber? Assuming Owen's story is true, why would the BNP want to protect Lecomber at all? Surely not just to avoid damaging publicity - a proscription notice on Lecomber himself and an announcement that he had been sacked and why to the media at large would have dealt with that, plus Griffin could have played the fake morality card he so loves to play into the bargain.
There are only two possibilities that ring true. Either the BNP are protecting Lecomber because he knows where all the skeletons are buried (and he does) and can destroy the party single-handed, which works but still doesn't answer the question of why he hasn't yet been arrested - or he's a state asset. In fact, the whole thing ONLY works if you assume that he IS a state asset - and then everything falls neatly into place. Assuming he is, there are still a lot more questions that need to be asked including the original question of why he hasn't yet been arrested. Asset or not, what he was suggesting to Owens was an act of terrorism or, at the very least, a racially-inspired conspiracy to commit murder. Both of these are serious crimes and either of them should have had him picked up within minutes of Joe Owen's disclosure way back in April. Assuming he's an asset, there's a certain level of protection he could be expected to claim but these should not be expected to ignore proposals to murder, for whatever reason. If they do, one wonders what other crimes are ignored in the pursuit of the interests of the state.
Joe Owens has clearly provided enough verifiable evidence to support an arrest but even if the police regard Owens' statements as highly suspect, there is, without a shadow of doubt, enough evidence to vigorously question Lecomber. Even this much hasn't happened. Why not and, even more disturbingly, why isn't the media at large asking the same question? Owens, according to Larry O'Hara in an email to Lancaster UAF (July 14th) '...was more than willing to provide a sworn affidavit to Neil McKay [the journalist] for the Sunday Herald piece, but (for whatever reason) McKay decided not to seek one.' One wonders why not. It would be most helpful if MPs and those in relevant positions of authority could help in our quest to get this question answered.
In fact, this whole incident brings up an awful lot of questions that need to be answered (some of which have already been asked in NFB7) and in an effort to provide those answers we've sent this article to several hundred MPs, journalists, relevant police authorities and other interested parties. We'd be obliged if some of them demanded the answers that should have been forthcoming months ago:
Why hasn't Lecomber been arrested or at least questioned by the police about his proposal to Owens?
Why have no mainstream politicians (thus far) demanded an answer to the first question?
Why has the media (for the most part) completely ignored this incident?
Is Lecomber a state asset and if so, who exactly does he work for and how long has he worked for them?
If this incident was state-inspired, what other illegal activities has Lecomber undertaken for the state with apparent immunity?
Answers to any or all of these questions will be very welcome and will almost certainly feature in our next article about Teflon-Tony Lecomber.