Far-right extremist ‘engulfed in flames’ as he tried to set alight synagogue

Tristan Morgan, 52, a far-right extremist who was engulfed in a ball of flames when he set fire to an historic synagogue on a day commemorating the Holocaust, has been locked up in hospital indefinitely.
Tristan Morgan, 52, a far-right extremist who was engulfed in a ball of flames when he set fire to an historic synagogue on a day commemorating the Holocaust, has been locked up in hospital indefinitely.
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A far-right extremist who was engulfed in a ball of flames when he set fire to an historic synagogue on a day commemorating the Holocaust has been locked up in hospital indefinitely.

Hospital X-Ray technician and self-styled folk singer Tristan Morgan, 52, was spotted walking away carrying a petrol can and laughing as smoke spewed from the 18th century synagogue in Exeter on July 21 last year.

Afterwards, CCTV was recovered showing Morgan being burned as he set light to the synagogue through a smashed window.

The defendant, from Exeter in Devon, admitted arson with intent to endanger life, encouraging terrorism by publishing a song entitled “White Man” to live-streaming website Soundcloud, and having a copy of the White Resistance Manual.

The court heard he was psychotic at the time of the arson attack but had no previous history of violence.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC handed Morgan a hospital order without limit of time, saying most people would feel “anger and revulsion” for what he did.

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Morgan has “deep-rooted anti-Semitic belief, embodied in a desire to do harm to the Jewish community and an obsession with abhorrent anti-Semitic material”.

Morgan made songs “exhorting others to violence” against the Jewish community and had an array of material which “revelled in the degenerate views of Nazi Germany and white supremacists”, Mr Richardson said.

On the evening of July 21 last year, he tried to burn down the synagogue “with no thought for any lives he might put at risk”, he said.

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 two listed building.

They stopped and Ms Baker saw the defendant walking from 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’.

The court was shown video of Morgan pouring liquid through the window before he is engulfed in a ball of flames.