Briton Sentenced in London to Five Years for Setting Fire to Synagogue

Aubrey Desmond Cadogan, 39, formerly the managing director of a tailoring firm here owned by Jews, who reportedly told police that his mother was Jewish, was convicted in Old Bailey today of having set fire to a synagogue, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

While he had pleaded not guilty, the court found that, on July 9, he had broken into the Palmers Green and Southgate District Synagogue, in London, and had set fire to the house of worship. Police witnesses had testified that, immediately after the fire had started, they had found him near the synagogue, carrying an oil can.

The prosecution also charged that, in Cadogan’s home, police found considerable quantities of Nazi literature, including a copy of a book entitled “Hitler Was Right.” One detective quoted the man as saying after his arrest that his mother was Jewish and insisting: “So, I’m not likely to do a thing like that, am I?”

Cadogan continued to insist before the court that he was innocent of the charge and, after the sentence, called it “a travesty of justice.” But Judge Mervyn-Griffith Jones, who presided at the jury trial in Old Bailey–which is London’s Central Criminal Court — told him:

“I put out of my mind what undoubtedly appeared to be your political views. I deal with the case simply on the basis that you have committed the offence of which you have been convicted, coupled with the fact that, in setting fire to the contents of that synagogue, you must have had it in mind to burn down the synagogue as a whole.”

“This,” the judge continued, “was a deliberate act and not only wicked in itself but one which might have caused danger and loss to surrounding buildings. It constitutes conduct which, in a civilized state, simply cannot be tolerated.” Detective Inspector George Claiden told the court, during the trial, that the arson committed at synagogues in northwest London “had been of great concern” to police authorities.

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