Furness Vale man jailed after online posts called for arson attacks on mosques

A Furness Vale man has been jailed after pleading guilty to inciting racial hatred after posting Facebook messages calling for arson attacks on mosques.

By Louise Cooper
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 2:32 pm

In October 2018 Paul Shelton, using an online alias, posted extreme right-wing views on social media – including two coded messages that called for the burning of mosques.

Screenshots of the 51-year-old’s rants were captured and sent to officers who arrested him at his home, on Buxton Road, Furness Vale, that same month.

Shelton was later charged with two counts of publishing threatening written material intending to stir up religious hatred and opted for a trial after appearing at Derby Crown Court in January 2020.

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Paul Shelton has been jailed for 10 months

Following a number of delays during the court process Shelton’s hearing was put back to January 18, when he changed his initial plea of not guilty to one of guilty at Derby Crown Court.

Judge Shaun Smith handed Shelton a 10-month custodial sentence, and a further ten months to be served on licence.

Shelton was also handed a five-year criminal behaviour order – meaning he must provide police with details of any electronic devices that he owns and provide passwords to the devices. He is also banned from creating any online social media profiles in any other name than his own.

Detective Inspector Graham Prince, who leads the Derbyshire team at Counter-Terrorism Policing East Midlands that dealt with the case, said: “The language used by Paul Shelton in his posts were nothing short of horrifying.

“We have seen on an all too frequent basis the way in which online postings such as this can be taken into the physical world with absolutely devastating consequences – and it is clear from the sentence imposed that the courts have taken this matter very seriously.

“This is not a victimless crime, or one that is any less serious simply because it was posted on Facebook. There should be no place for this type of hate speech and as a force, and region, we will do all we can to ensure that where people cross the line from debate into hate then they are rightly brought to justice.”

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