Police detention officer convicted of terror offence over UDA posts

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A police detention officer has been convicted of a terror offence after he published images showing his apparent support of a Northern Ireland paramilitary group.

William Lloyd-Hughes, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London to publishing an image of two flags on September 11, 2022 “in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that you were a member or supporter of” the banned loyalist Ulster Defence Association (UDA) terror group.

Lloyd-Hughes, 26, who was based at Huddersfield Police Station as a civilian member of staff, also pleaded guilty to a charge under the Communications Act 2003 of sharing grossly offensive messages on Twitter on August 27, 2022.

Two further charges of sending grossly offensive messages on Twitter were withdrawn by prosecutors following his guilty pleas.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring adjourned sentencing until April 19 at the same court to allow for a pre-sentence report.

Lloyd-Hughes, of Crosland Moor, was wearing a light blue shirt and a dark tie in court and was accompanied by his father, who watched from the public gallery.

The defendant spoke to confirm his name, age, address, to enter the guilty pleas and to tell the judge he is on a “plethora of medication” because he suffers from cystic fibrosis.

The court was told he was of previous good character.

The judge said: “As you have pleaded guilty to the two charges, the other two have been withdrawn, in due course you will get full credit for those guilty pleas.

“I need a pre-sentencing report because I know almost nothing about you, about your mindset, about your lifestyle and all the things that might be relevant.

“I’m going to release you on unconditional bail.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog said on Monday that the charges followed an investigation it directed, carried out by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, into the messages following a mandatory referral from the West Yorkshire force last September.

He is currently suspended by the force, the IOPC said.

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