Soldier’s ‘Muslim blood’ Facebook shame

A volunteer soldier posted a comment on Facebook suggesting racist violent revenge should be taken on the day drummer Lee Rigby was murdered.

Mark Tonner wrote “Get the boys together we need to paint the town red with Muslim blood”. He was arrested after a member of the public complained on the Lancashire Police website about what Tonner had written.

Tonner, 36, of Ashton Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message. He was bailed for pre-sentence reports and will be sentenced at a later date by Blackpool magistrates.

Andrea Fawcett, prosecuting, said after the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, Tonner posted the comment on Facebook on May 23. Tonner wrote “Dean, you’re in charge of Blackpool now. Get the boys together we need to paint the town red with Muslim blood”.

When interviewed by police Tonner said he had been angry and drunk at the time. He did not know Dean personally but believed he was a member of The English Defence League (EDL).

Hugh Pond, defending, said his client had been a member of the Army Reserve, formerly known as the Territorial Army, for more than five years and served as a clerk in the Transport Regiment at Grantham. Tonner had been drinking heavily and had been revolted by the television pictures of the blood covered men saying they had murdered drummer Rigby.

Tonner, who was said in a reference from his commanding officer to have an exemplary character in the Army, was not a member of the EDL or National Front. He was thoroughly ashamed of what he had done and was under investigation by the Army Reserve.

Blackpool Gazette, 7 July 2013

“Not a member of the EDL”? Odd, then, that Tonner’s Facebook page reveals him to be a supporter of a number of EDL groups, including its Armed Forces Division.

In 2010 he was a signatory to Hel Gower’s “Support the English Defence League” petition, and more recently he even flagged up his EDL affiliation in an entry on an internet dating site.

Three years ago Tonner posted an admiring comment on the Youtube channel of EDL founder Paul “Lionheart” Ray:

Mark Tonner Lion Heart admirer

He can also be found commenting on an EDL-promoting Youtube video and advocating “armed ressistance”:

Mark Ton on EDL

It has been made clear that involvement in the EDL is incompatible with membership of the armed forces, and hopefully that principle will be applied to members of the Army Reserve too.