A woman who entered a Miss Hitler beauty pageant and is accused of being a neo-Nazi terrorist has told jurors her Swastika-covered shawl was a “pagan religious” item.
Alice Cutter also claimed a set of dangling earrings, shaped like the Nazi-era symbol, were purchased by her from a “pagan” shop in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
The 22-year-old, who is accused of being a member of the banned far right terrorist group National Action, added that she posed with what appeared to be an assault rifle, because it made a “cool pic”.
Cutter, who described herself as an “animal-lover” and a vegan, is on trial accused of being a member of the organisation, alongside her boyfriend Mark Jones, both of Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, and two other men.
Giving evidence for a second day at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, she was asked about earrings she was wearing in a photograph found on Cutter’s Samsung mobile phone, with the caption “Still the best earrings in the world!”
“They were my earrings,” said Cutter.
“I got them from a pagan religious shop in the centre of Vilnius, in Lithuania.”
Her barrister, Liam Walker, then asked her about a “Swastika shawl”, which she was also pictured wearing, in a photo found on her phone.
She replied: “That was mine.
“I was given it in Lithuania by a friend we were visiting.
“I believe it’s Latvian design but again it is pagan religious, I’m not wearing it to offend.
“I like it because it’s part of a religion I appreciate.”
Asked about an image of her holding what appeared to be an assault rifle, she told the jury: “It’s not a rifle, as far as I’m aware.
“I think it’s some sort of replica thing – my friend took it from his nan’s house after she died, I don’t think its real because it doesn’t work, but if it does, it could be described as an air rifle.
“Its not a gun, not like an actual gun.”
Asked why she wanted to “pose with an assault rifle”, by Mr Walker, she replied: “I really can’t tell you the logic behind it, I just thought it looked like it might make a cool pic.
“It wasn’t to threaten or upset anybody.”
She added: “Much in the same way rappers pose with what can be perceived as a firearm, but I never thought this would be perceived to be a serious thing.
“I feel if you look at it you can tell it’s not a real gun, that’s what I think anyway.”
Under cross-examination by Barnaby Jameson QC, for the prosecution, Cutter was asked if she had a “violent mindset”.
Cutter, who also said she had an interest in camping and mushrooms, replied: “I’ve said distasteful things, I’ve said some heinous things to be honest, but in reality, in real life, I have no violent mindset.”
The waitress who has been giving evidence told jurors she “really didn’t think” she ever was a member of the organisation, which was banned in December 2016, and certainly was not a member once it was out-lawed.
She told how when in York in May 2016, she pulled out ahead of a National Action demonstration in the city after suffering an anxiety attack, and instead went to the Disney store where she bought an Aristocats toy figure.
Cutter claimed in evidence earlier this week that she was pestered into entering a Miss Hitler beauty pageant, where she personally cited National Action as introducing her to the far-right, in her entry form.
She was left “panicking” when her entry photograph, in which she was wearing a face mask under the contestant name “Buchenwald Princess” – referencing the Nazi-era death camp – ended up in the national newspapers.
The 22-year-old also described messages she sent about killing Jews as “just stupid dark humour” and “distasteful edginess”, made in private.
Other remarks in which she sent a text message to her boyfriend Jones, which read “Kill, kill, kill” while talking about gassing synagogues, was just her “talking shit”, she told the jury.
Cutter and Jones, who is originally from Highbury, London, are on trial alongside Garry Jack, 23, of Heathland Avenue, Birmingham, and 18-year-old Connor Scothern, of Bagnall Avenue, Nottingham, accused of group membership.
All deny any wrong-doing and the trial continues.
- Press Association