The firebombing of an immigration processing center in Dover has been branded a terrorist incident after police found evidence the attack was motivated by far-right ideology.
Andrew Leak, 66, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, is believed to have killed himself at a nearby petrol station after throwing two or three ‘raw’ incendiary devices at the Western Jet Foil site in Kent last Sunday.
The Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said on Saturday that the attack was “motivated by terrorist ideology”.
Evidence from examination of digital media devices recovered during the investigation suggests “a far-right motivation behind the attack”, police said.
Senior National Counter Terrorism Policing Coordinator Tim Jacques said: “This was clearly a very worrying incident and although no one was seriously injured, two people were slightly injured.
“Increasingly in counter-terrorism cases, across all ideologies, we see individuals who have mental health issues and a hateful mindset.
“Assessing when this crosses the threshold of terrorism is a complex process and must be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis.
“These decisions must be determined by the facts, insofar as they can be established at any given time.
“Having reviewed the evidence gathered so far in this case, although there are strong indications that mental health was likely a factor, I am satisfied that the suspect’s actions were primarily motivated by extremist ideology.
“This reaches the threshold of a terrorist incident.”
Police said there was no evidence to suggest Leak was working with anyone else or that there was a broader threat to the public.
Facebook posts on a now-deleted account by the name of Andy Leak from High Wycombe contain anti-Muslim sentiments and complaints about people claiming benefits if they don’t speak English.
One, shared on August 9, said: “Next time the job center penalizes your money for not looking for enough work, ask them about the thousands of people who are getting benefits can’t speak english and can’t write in english, how do they look for work?
“Unemployment benefits make it clear that you cannot apply for benefits if you are not looking for work, all of these people should be excluded from benefits.
“You clearly can’t look for work if you can’t read or speak English, they’re breaking the law, it’s time to get up.”
Another post, on July 24, read: “All Muslims are guilty of grooming, they never spoke because it wasn’t their daughters, fucking animals wake up.
“They only rape non-Muslims, it’s a religious hate crime, you’re stupid.”
Two center staff were lightly injured after police were called at 11.22am on Sunday morning.
Following the incident, 700 people were moved to Manston Asylum Processing Center near Ramsgate for security reasons.
Police said the investigation was ongoing, including ongoing work on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coroner.