Anti-Semitic attacks have been increasing around the world. This one didn’t go quite as planned…
CCTV footage was just released of 52-year old Tristan Morgan setting the 18th-century synagogue in Exeter, Devon, on fire. The video shows Morgan using a small ax to break a window of a synagogue, walking away and shortly after returning with a gas can. He then pours some gas into the broken window and tosses something to start the fire inside. As a ball of flames burst out of the window, Morgan is tossed backward as his head is set on fire. He douses the flames and calmly walks away.
The synagogue was built in 1763 and is the third-oldest in Britain and a focal point in the local Jewish community. In the 1990s, it underwent reconstruction and in 2013 the £100,000 restoration project was completed. The cost to repair the damage from the fire that Morgan set is said to be more than £23,000.
Morgan is an X-ray technician, folk singer, and raging anti-Semite.
The defendant admitted arson, encouraging terrorism by publishing a song entitled “White Man” to live-streaming website Soundcloud, and having a copy of the White Resistance Manual when he appeared at the Old Bailey.
As a hearing on Friday, prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Morgan had “deep-rooted antisemitic belief, embodied in a desire to do harm to the Jewish community and an obsession with abhorrent antisemitic material”.
On the evening of Saturday, 21 July last year he tried to burn down the synagogue “with no thought for any lives he might put at risk”, Mr Richardson said.
The attempt to burn down the synagogue could have been much worse. Firefighters said that when they arrived on scene, they found a “severe fire” in a room that housed a gas boiler which could have exploded.
Morgan was identified by a couple walking nearby who heard a loud noise, saw smoke and an orange glow, and saw the man leaving with a gas can.
Mr Richardson told how Zoe Baker and her partner Samual O’Brien were walking through Exeter city centre when they heard a “loud bang” and saw an “orange glow and smoke” coming from the grade II-listed building.
Concerned someone might be hurt, they stopped and Ms Baker saw the defendant walking away, carrying a green petrol can.
Mr Richardson said: “He appeared to be laughing, while trying to flatten his hair, which she described as looking like it had been ‘whooshed up’.”.
Morgan’s van was captured on CCTV which led the police right to him.
As he opened the door to officers, the defendant, who smelled of petrol and burning, said: “That didn’t take long.”
He had burns to his hands, forehead and hair, the court heard. In his pockets, he was carrying two lock knives and two lighters.
As he was put in a police van, Morgan said: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground, if not, it’s poor preparation.”
Source: THe Independent
The court heard that Mogan, who had no prior record of violent behavior, was psychotic at the time of the arson. Judge Anthony Leonard QC handed Mogan an indefinite hospital order saying that most people would feel “anger and revulsion” over what he had done.