We've just spoken to the coroner's officer in Burnley, who has confirmed the death of former BNP councillor, Luke Smith. Smith was found hanged in Burnley's Yorkshire Street at around 4pm yesterday. An inquest will open on Friday though the verdict is likely to be suicide. Smith was 26.
The last report we had of Smith's behaviour was when he suddenly reappeared from obscurity a few days ago, after being convicted of attacking a pub landlord. In the article that we reprinted, it was revealed that Smith's mental health was fast-deteriorating and the court was told that he was said to be suffering from adjustment disorder, brief reactive depression and a mental and behavioural disorder due to misuse of substances.
Smith had a long history of football-related violence behind him, and was jailed for 17 months in March 2006 after being convicted of violent disorder in relation to incidents surrounding a World Cup qualifier in October 2004 and later violence in Blackpool. He was also banned from football grounds for six years. This followed on from a two-and-a-half year football banning order, imposed for being involved in over 20 violent episodes in five years. Following his 17 month conviction, the BNP rallied around him saying that he was not a man of violence.
Smith was also one of the youngest BNP councillors, resigning his seat on the then BNP flagship Burnley council (on which they had, at the time, eight councillors) in 2003 following an incident at that year's Red, White and Blue booze-fest, when a drunken and belligerent Smith attacked then Leeds organiser Martin Reynolds (now Head of Security) with a bottle, smashing it into Reynolds' face and opening up a gash close to his left eye that required seven stitches, subsequently dealt with by Leeds Royal Infirmary. This fracas earned Smith his expulsion from the BNP and a three-year ban on holding public office by the Standards Board.