Searchlight can exclusively reveal that the leader of the English Defence League is a former British National Party member who has served 12 months’ imprisonment for assaulting an off-duty police officer.
Self-proclaimed EDL leader Tommy Robinson is really Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, from Bedford.
In 2004 he joined the BNP with a family membership. In the same year he assaulted an off-duty police officer who intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner Jenna Vowles. During the scuffle Yaxley-Lennon kicked the officer in the head.
He was convicted on 18 April 2005 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and assault with intent to resist arrest, for which he received a concurrent term of three months.
Vowles, also a BNP member, was cautioned for possession of cocaine. She told the court that the she found two empty bags in her house and was taking them out so that her parents did not find them.
Yaxley-Lennon attended Putteridge High School in Luton and moved to nearby Bedford more recently. Robinson also claims on his Facebook site that he attended Putteridge school.
The revelation that Robinson had been a member of the BNP explains why so many of the initial EDL activists also attended BNP meetings in the Luton/Bedford area.
More importantly, it dispels the myth that the roots of the EDL are not in hard-core racism.
It destroys the protestations by the EDL leadership that, “They aren’t the BNP and they aren’t Nazis,” made at their phoney press conference held last September in a disused Luton warehouse, where they unfurled a swastika flag and proceeded to try to set it alight for the cameras.
It also explains the real reason why Robinson felt the need to hide his face.
Apart from his BNP membership and his convictions for violence, Robinson told a BBC film crew that he lived in a part of Luton where Islamic fanatics lived and that he feared for his safety. The reality is somewhat different as he lives in Wilstead, a relatively leafy village on the outskirts of Bedford.
The exposure of his identity follows a split in the EDL that is mostly being fought over the internet.
Paul Ray, self-styled spiritual guru of the EDL, has posted a series of messages on his Lionheart blog, in which he and his friend Nick Greger announce their intention to take control of the EDL. Ray was the original mover in creating the EDL, although he quickly fell out with the other leaders and moved abroad to Malta. Ray has focused his efforts on making Crusader-themed anti-Muslim promotional videos, and he and Greger have just issued a notice of “expulsion” of the EDL’s leaders, together with a demand for control of the EDL’s websites.
In one of their videos Greger goes on to say “another well-known man will soon appear within the new leadership, a man from Ulster, who is also currently in exile”.
This is almost certainly a reference to Greger’s friend Johnny Adair, a prominent loyalist terrorist who now lives in Scotland following an intra-loyalist feud. Adair’s friendship with Greger was the subject of a television documentary in 2006, when Adair met Greger while in prison for plotting acts of terror and was then the head of a nazi group in Dresden, Germany.
It is thought that Ray and Greger were responsible for the appearance of a video on YouTube that unveiled Robinson as Stephen Yaxley along with a series of photographs, following outlandish claims by Ray that the EDL led by Robinson threatened to kidnap and harm members of Ray’s family.
Robinson later confirmed on his Facebook page that the photographs were indeed of him, saying, “Hey at least people can see my hansome [sic] face now”.