An extremist from Exeter in the UK who set a historic synagogue on fire in 2018 has been locked up in a hospital ward for the rest of his life, BBC reported Friday.
Tristan Morgan, 51, of Exeter, burned himself after he poured gasoline on the 18th-century building on 21 July 2018 – a date coinciding with a Jewish feast day commemorating disasters, including the Holocaust.
CCTV footage clearly reveals him breaking a window with a hammer and bringing a gas canister. The ensuing explosion blew the cap from his head, and scorched his face and hands. The footage also clearly identified the arsonist’s vehicle.
Two witnesses also saw Morgan walking away from the scene, carrying a green petrol can.
"He appeared to be laughing, while trying to flatten his hair, which [a witness] described as looking like it had been 'whooshed up',” prosecutor Alistair Richardson said, according to Devon Live.
As police arrested him at his home, Morgan reportedly said: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground. If not, it's poor preparation."
Exeter police chief Matt Lawler said it was “sheer chance” that there were no worshippers in the building at the time.
Exeter man Tristan Morgan, aged 52, of no fixed abode has been given an indefinite hospital order after pleading guilty to an arson and two charges under the Terrorism Act following a hearing at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in London today (Friday 5 July). pic.twitter.com/Tj2PCnw9CD— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) 5 июля 2019 г.
“Morgan is clearly very unwell and following multiple detailed medical assessments it is clear that a hospital order is appropriate. He will be subject of further assessments and close monitoring for many years to come,” he said, according to Devon Live.
“The footage, which was played in open court, shows the level of planning, determination and intent by Morgan, whom the wider evidence clearly showed held abhorrent extreme right-wing, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist views.”
He was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order by Judge Anthony Leonard QC, who noted that most people would feel “anger and revulsion” for what he did. Morgan admitted to arson and two terrorism-related charges, according to BBC.
The damage to the synagogue is estimated at the equivalent of some $28,800.