• March 25, 2023

Migrant centre attacker planned to ‘obliterate Muslim children’ in final tweet

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Andrew Leak said he planned to “obliterate Muslim children” an hour before his firebomb attack in Dover, it has been revealed, amid continuing questions about why it took police so long to treat the incident as terrorism.

In his final tweet before the attack, Leak, 66, said: “We will obliterate them Muslim children [they] are now our target. And there [sic] disgusting women will be targeted mothers and sisters Is burn alive”.

It was posted at 10.22am on Sunday. An hour later, at about 11.20am, Leak was photographed releasing a plastic bottle taped to a lit firework on Dover harbour’s Western Jet Foil, where dozens of people who had crossed the Channel in small boats were waiting to be processed by Border Force officers.

Two people were hurt in the attack involving three petrol bombs. Leak was found dead minutes afterwards at a nearby petrol station.

Leek’s final tweet was revealed in an archive of his social media postings compiled by the anti-fascist charity Hope Not Hate before they were deleted.

On Tuesday, counter-terrorism police said they were now investigating the incident, after multiple calls for it to treated as an act of terror.

In a Facebook post in October last year, Leak said he had written to the government warning: “I will end illegal immigration into this countrywithin one year from the French boat side.” He later tweeted: “We will stop these boats.”

The archive also showed he was an active follower of groups that campaign against Channel crossings by filming and harassing people as they arrive in lifeboats.

His social media history showed that his anti-migration views drew on conspiracy theories. In September, he tweeted the anti-migration group Migration Watch UK to say: “All these boats are made in the same place by the UN pier 52.”

He frequently expressed support for Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. In July, Leak tweeted: “Tommy Robinson is trending because he was right about Grooming/Rape/Pedophile gangs in Telford.”

In May this year, Leak retweeted posts relating to a campaign against housing asylum seekers at an RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, a campaign promoted by Patriotic Alternative, the UK’s most active fascist group.

Patrik Hermansson, a seniorresearcher at Hope Not Hate, said: “The current hostile climate against migrants and the harsh focus on Channel crossings and migrant accommodation by the government, the media and the far right is a theme that runs through Leak’s posts.

“Hope Not Hate’s archive of Leak’s tweets reveals extensive interaction with anti-migrant activists … and praised former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.”

On Monday, Edward Biggs, a Labour town councillor whose ward includes the scene of the attack, urged the police to treat it as terrorism. In the Commons, the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, asked whether counter-terrorist officers were investigating the incident. “It does not make sense for them not to be,” she said.

On Tuesday evening, Cooper tweeted: “I asked the home secretary why counter-terror police & counter-extremism units were not involved in the investigation of the awful attack in Dover. She did not answer. Given the further information emerging today, I remain very concerned this didn’t happen straight away.”

The former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: “The man who petrol bombed the Dover Migrant Centre had far-right links. So why did it take two days to hand the investigation to counter-terror police?”

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