A far right figure from England who gave a speech at an anti-asylum seeker protest in Erskine has been found guilty of inciting hatred.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court found Sam Melia guilty of stirring up racial hatred between 2019 and 2021, and intentionally encouraging, or assisting, racially-aggravated criminal damage by distributing material for a group called the Hundred-Handers.
Melia — who had a picture of Adolf Hitler in his home — is the Yorkshire organiser for Patriotic Alternative. He was also the head of the Hundred Handers, an anonymous group responsible for anti-immigration “stickering” incidents.
The stickers bore slogans such as “Reject white guilt”, “Nationalism is nurture”, “We will be a minority in our homeland by 2066” and “Diversity – designed to fail, built to replace”.
On Telegram, where Hundred-Handers had 3,500 followers, Melia used racist slurs about black, Asian and Jewish people, the court was told.
The court also heard police found a book by Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, on Melia’s bedside table and a poster of him in his living room. Police also found posters depicting the Third Reich – the name given to Germany under the Nazis – in his home.
The Hundred-Handers was named after giant creatures from Greek mythology with 100 arms. The group was active in the UK and a number of other parts of the world, the court heard.
Melia had denied the charges. According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, his laywer told jurors there was not a “shred of evidence” that the Hundred Handers or Patriotic Alternative “encourage lawbreaking”. He reportedly told the court that “a person’s right to free speech must be protected.”
Melia was granted bail and will appear again in court on March 1.
Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Melia was perfectly aware that the stickers he published on his Telegram channel were being downloaded and then stuck up in public places around the country.
“He was very deliberate in the manner he wanted to spread his messages of racial hatred. It is illegal to publish such material intending to stir up racial hatred towards others, and the CPS will not hesitate to bring prosecutions against those who break the law in this way.”
The Ferret revealed that Melia visited Scotland in October 2022 to speak at a secretive event in Stirling organised by the white nationalist group, Patriotic Alternative Scotland.
He returned to Scotland last February to speak at a protest in Erskine over asylum seekers being housed in a local hotel.
Photo credit: iStock and seb_ra