Police in the U.K. have released video footage of an alleged far-right extremist who became engulfed in flames as he attempted to set fire to a historic synagogue last year.
The CCTV video shows a man identified as Tristan Morgan, 52, smashing a window with a hammer before pouring liquid from a green gas can into a synagogue in the city of Exeter, located in southern England, in July 2018.
After dropping what appears to be a lit piece of paper into the window, video shows flames shooting back into Morgan’s face. As Morgan attempts to leave the scene flames and smoke are seen coming from his hair.
Devon and Cornwall Police said in a statement that Morgan was given an indefinite hospital sentence Friday after pleading guilty to an arson charge and two offences under Britain’s Terrorism Act.
The BBC reports that prosecutors said Morgan — a self-described far-right folksinger — had made songs “exhorting others to violence” against the Jewish community and possessed material that “revelled in the degenerate views of Nazi Germany and white supremacists.”
“A deep-rooted anti-Semitic belief, embodied in a desire to do harm to the Jewish community and an obsession with abhorrent anti-Semitic material,” prosecutor Alistair Richardson said.
Court heard that when Morgan was arrested at his home he had burns to his hands, forehead, and hair and was carrying knives and two lighters. The attack also coincided with a Jewish fast day commemorating disasters, such as the Holocaust.
“Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground. If not, it’s poor preparation,” Morgan allegedly told police on his way to the hospital.
Although no one was injured in the attack, the repairs were estimated at more than C$37,000.
Hate crimes targeting religious groups have surged in recent years in both the U.K. and Canada.
The latest data from Statistics Canada show that hate-crime incidents reported to police have risen for four straight years in Canada, increasing from just over 1,400 incidents in 2016 to almost 2,100 incidents in 2017. The spikes were largely fuelled by increases in crimes against the Muslim and Jewish populations.
Religious hate crimes have surged 40 per cent in England and Wales, according to the latest figure from the U.K. government, rising from 5,949 in 2016-17 to 8,336 in 2017-18. Statistics from Home Office show the total number of hate incidents reached a record 94,098 from April 2017 to March 2018 — with the Muslim and Jewish communities being the most commonly targeted groups.