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Brisbane Nazi jailed over swastika T-shirt attack

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A Queensland neo-Nazi caught with an Adolf Hitler face mask and a copy of the Mein Kampf has been jailed for brutalising his housemate in a five-hour ordeal over a missing swastika T-shirt.

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The housemate was threatened with a bat and beaten in an inner-city East Brisbane home in May 2019.

Neo-nazi Michael Shayne Halcrow, 38, and Gavin Daniel Menzies, 41, pleaded guilty to a string of offences including armed robbery, possession of a weapon and robbery with violence in the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday.

Both have been jailed for at least 18 months.

On the day of the assault, Halcrow accused his housemate of stealing the anti-Semitic T-shirt which depicted a Nazi swastika, prosecutor Michael Gawrych said.

The court heard the pair stole the housemate’s possessions stored in a cupboard and threw them in a bin before entering the bedroom.

The terrified housemate cowered inside when Halcrow and Menzies stormed the room, screaming: ‘Where is the shirt?”

They kicked in his bedroom door and beat him as they tried to find the offensive shirt.

At the height of the brutal assault, Menzies thrust his thumb into a wound on the victim, ripping open the stitches and causing “immense pain”, the court was told.

The victim managed to call the police, but when officers arrived, Menzies warned him to stay hidden, or he would “crack his skull open”.

After more than five hours, the terrified housemate finally fled the home, abandoning his belongings, too scared to return.

He remains traumatised by the attack, unable to give a victim impact statement to the court.

Halcrow, who has the word “damaged” tattooed across his forehead, was later arrested in a police raid in September, when officers seized 35 Nazi-related propaganda items, including the face mask.

He tried to claim the swastika held a different meaning in his native home of New Zealand at one stage.

Halcrow later denied any affiliation with neo-Nazi or white supremacist groups to doctors this year, the court was told.

“It is not illegal to possess that type of material,” Halcrow’s barrister Cecelia Bernardin told the court.

The court was told Menzies was the main instigator of the violence, but the theft of Halcrow’s shirt lead to the assault.

The prosecution rejected the claim and entered nine pages of photographs of white supremacist material found in his home into evidence.

“Clearly this man was terrified. He barricaded himself in his bedroom,” Judge Michael Byrne said.

“It smacks of vigilantism.”

Judge Byrne stressed that Halcrow was not being sentenced for any predilection for white supremacy or neo-Nazi propaganda.

Both men were sentenced to four-and-half years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 18 months.

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