A man who threatened on social media to attack people at an LGBT Pride event with a machete did it to impress his friends, a court has heard.
Ethan Stables, 20, gathered a machete, knives, an axe, an air rifle and a ball bearing gun with the intent of attacking the New Empire pub in Cumbria, prosecutors have said.
His alleged plan was reportedly foiled after he told fellow members of a Nazi-themed Facebook group that he was going to murder people at the event in June last year.
(Greater Manchester Police)
This led a woman in Staffordshire to phone the police and post a warning on Twitter.
Stables was arrested near the pub at 10pm on the night of the Pride event, on June 23 last year.
The jury of seven men and five women has heard that the defendant was on a final reconnaissance trip, and planned to return later that night to carry out his plot.
Jurors have been told that among the series of messages he posted on the Facebook group was one which read: “I’m going to war tonight.”
He was also gathering the means to make an improvised explosive device, the court has heard.
The defendant claimed in court that he had forgotten he owned a machete when writing on Facebook that he was going to kill gay people with one.
Stables, who denies preparing an act of terrorism and threats to kill, told the jury yesterday that he was not homophobic.
The Barrow resident said he wrote the posts to impress his friends, adding: “Actually I am bisexual.”
When he was asked whether he had had a same-sex experience, he responded: “Yes”.
It should be noted that a person can be bisexual without having had a sexual experience with someone of the same gender.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford put it to the court that Stables’ bisexuality had no been previously mentioned.
The defendant said that he had not revealed his sexuality because he was afraid of how members of his family would react.
While cross-examining Stables, Sandiford described the idea that Stables was trying to impress his far-right friends as “nonsense”.
The prosecutor has previously described Stables as a “white supremacist and Nazi – a supporter of Adolf Hitler, if you will.”
He told the court: “Between 2016 and his arrest in 2017, he was planning and preparing to commit acts of terrorism directed towards members of these groups but, primarily, directed towards people who were lesbian or gay.”
Stables became enraged when he heard about the pub’s Pride event, the prosecutor added.
“His purpose in these acts of preparation was to launch a murderous attack on members of these communities – in particular, the prosecution suggests, people who were gay,” Sandiford said.
Patrick Upward QC, who is defending Stables, has said that his client is not a white supremacist, but more of a “white fantasist”.
The defence agreed that the material presented by the prosecution comprised an “awful, disgusting, vile series of posts.”
Upward told the court that Stables had a long history of dealing with Asperger’s.
The trial continues.