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Swastika flag 'nothing ideological', National Action accused claims

Nazi flag found at Mr Trubini's home Image copyright GMP
Image caption A Swastika flag was found at Mr Trubini's Warrington home

A man accused of being in a banned neo-Nazi group has told a court his ownership of a Swastika flag was "nothing ideological".

Michal Trubini, 36, from Warrington, denies membership of National Action.

The organisation was banned in December 2016 under terrorism legislation.

Mr Trubini said he "never considered" himself part of the group but agreed he was a "nationalist". He said it was a "spur of the moment decision" to buy a Nazi flag found in his home.

Jack Renshaw, 23, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and Andrew Clarke, 34, of Prescot, Merseyside, also deny being members of the British organisation on a date between the ban and September 2017.

Mr Renshaw has previously admitted preparing an act of terrorism by buying a machete in order to murder the Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Hitler banner

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Mr Trubini said he began associating with National Action members in 2014 after he was put in touch with the group's leader Christopher Lythgoe because of a shared interest in boxing.

The defendant, a Slovakian national who came to the UK in 2007, insisted he never became a national socialist or a member of National Action.

"I never considered myself as part of it," he said.

"I was at odds with all this. I had no reason to join them," he told the court.

Asked by prosecutor Matthew Brook why he had bought the large Nazi flag, the defendant said it was a "spur of the moment decision. It was nothing ideological."

Mr Trubini said he looked at the flag "just a few times" before putting it away and that he found Adolf Hitler's autobiography, also discovered in his flat, too "boring" to finish.

He also pointed himself out in videos of National Acton demonstrations from before the group was banned - a masked figure clad in black.

In one video, Mr Trubini could be seen holding a National Action banner bearing the words "Hitler was right".

Asked for an explanation, he said: "I found myself in the front and I was holding the banner. There were movements within the group."

'Shocking'

After the ban he said Lythgoe had "wanted to keep people together" in order to start something new, but that National Action itself had finished.

"Why should people change the habit of meeting for a drink? This was not proscribed," he said when asked to explain why he and others had continued their routine of training and pub meetings.

He said that a private gym set up in Warrington after the ban - which was funded by donations from himself, Lythgoe and others - had nothing to do with National Action.

Mr Trubini previously said it was "shocking" to be accused of a terrorism offence because "all I did was boxing and hang out in a pub."

The trial continues.

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