UPDATED: Sunday 4 December with video
The English Defence League’s North East regional organiser Alan Spence has been jailed for his part in an attack on a socialist meeting, along with several of his racist and fascist cohorts.
Spence is a leading figure in the EDL – and a key link between the EDL and the British National Party: he stood as a parliamentary candidate for the BNP at the general election (see election leaflet, below).
He was sent down for seven months today, following the attack at the Tyneside Irish Centre, where the Socialist Workers Party was holding a meeting last September.
His son, Steven Spence, a former BNP local council candidate, was jailed for eight months for his part in the same attack.
The attack, in which EDL thugs wearing their divisional hoodies stormed into the Irish centre, is shown in CCTV footage, below.
In a post on Alan Spence’s Facebook page, Tracy King, who is understood to be Spence’s partner, said: “just letting u no alan got 7 month our son steven got 8 month other 5 lads got jailed aswell”.
Other sentences for the attackers reported on relatives’ Facebook pages include 10 months for Peter Duffy and eight for Barry Keddy.
Duffy, part of the same band of EDL thugs, later left to become a well known member of the Infidels/NEI splinter group.
The attack on a socialist meeting shows the thugs are not just racists but fascists too – and that there are few serious differences between the EDL and the NEI, both of whose members were involved as one group at the time.
Spence’s record also shows how porous the dividing line between the BNP and the EDL is. He joined the EDL’s forum in September 2009, several months before he stood as BNP candidate in the Newcastle upon Tyne East constituence in May 2010.
He has also been photographed with fascist BNP leader Nick Griffin.
UPDATE 3 December: Six members of the gang have now been jailed for the attack in which the thugs stormed into the Irish centre, attacking the door staff.
The court handed down sentences of 10 months for Peter Duffy, eight months for Barry Keddy, eight months for Michael Garriock, eight months for Steven Spence, seven months for Alan Spence, seven months for Colin Burton.
Anthony Burn and Colin Bell and Paul Starr received suspended sentences, the Newcastle Chronicle confirmed.
Duffy, Bell, Burn, Garriock, Keddy, Alan and Steven Spence and Starr all admitted affray, while Mills and Burton admitted public order offences.
Nicholas Mills’ case was adjourned until later this month.
The CCTV footage of the attack was shown on the Newcastle Chronicle website.