Westminster magistrates court
The three men appeared at Westminster magistrates court Wiki Commons / GrimsbyT

A man facing charges including being part of a neo-Nazi group that praised the murder of MP Jo Cox has told a court has said he is "innocent of these charges".

Alex Deakin, 22, is charged with offences linked to alleged membership of National Action. Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that he and Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 32, and Private Mark Barrett, 24, exchanged racist messages on Telegram about a white-only Britain.

Deakin and Vehvilainen face charges of possession of documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication.

Deakin, a recent science graduate, told the court on Monday (12 September): "I'm a prisoner of conscience, I believe I'm innocent of these charges."

Vehvilainen is also charged with publishing material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, allegedly posting comments on the website Christogenea.org intending to stir up racial hatred, the Times reported.

Barrett, 24, is charged with being a member of National Action, which has been banned since December after its praising of the white supremacist who murdered Jo Cox.

The Home Office described the group as "virulently racist, antisemitic and homophobic. Its ideology promotes the idea that Britain will inevitably see a violent 'race war', which the group claims it will be an active part of."

Deakin and Vehvilainen gave no indication of plea, while Barrett pleaded not guilty. The men will appear at a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on 21 September.