Knife attack on Merseyside trade unionist
A leading Merseyside trades unionist and anti-racist campaigner has been attacked at his home by a knifeman. Alex McFadden was almost blinded in the attack.
A local reporter takes up the story:
Union boss slashed in face
May 19 2006
EXCLUSIVE by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
A LEADING trade unionist was slashed in a knife attack in front of his two young daughters in their Merseyside home. Anti-racist campaigner and left wing activist Alec McFadden was almost blinded in the attack, and was cut in his head, arms and wrists as he tried to fend off the knifeman.
His daughters, aged nine and 13, watched in horror as he was slashed with a craft knife, spraying blood on the door and hall of his Wirral home.
The 59-year-old believes racists are behind the attack, as he has received death threats before.
He said: "He missed my eye by half an inch. The doctors say I am lucky."
He was attacked at 9.30pm after hearing banging on his door.
He said: "I saw a man slumped on the garden wall. I thought he was hurt and opened the door.
"He tried to force his way in and slashed me. I shouted to my kids to call the police, and I think when he heard my daughter on the phone saying, 'I want the police now,' it distracted him.
"I got the strength from somewhere and managed to force the door closed."
Earlier, he had been celebrating news his nephew, Everton player James McFadden, had made the Scotland national squad. He said: "I was so elated that I forgot to check my car mirrors and this person must have followed me."
Police were today carrying out forensic testing.
The knifeman was white, 5ft 10ins, with dark receding hair and a local accent. He wore a light coloured top.
Contact Wirral police on 0151 777 2265.
Alex McFadden, originally from the North East, is a well-known figure among trade unionists and anti-racist activists, on Merseyside and more widely. Last year I met him at the national trades union councils' conference in Liverpool where he chaired discussions on what trades unionists can do to combat racialism and organise migrant workers. I had a chat with him again a few months ago in the Casa, Merseyside dockers' club on Hope Street.
Racists might not be the only people to make attacks like this, but they are the people who boasted their hatred for Alex McFadden, and it is not the first time he has been their target. Three years ago the notrious right-wing website Redwatch published details on the Merseyside trade unionist including his address and photograph.
Targets of right wing extremists
Nov 19 2003 by Thomas Martin, Liverpool Echo
A Merseyside trade union leader is under police protection today (Wednesday, November 19) after being targeted by right wing extremists.
CCTV cameras have been installed by police at the home of Alec McFadden, president of the Merseyside TUC. Another union leader, Nigel Flanagan, chairman of the north west region for Unison, and children's author and primary
school teacher Alan Gibbons, have also been targeted in a website campaign by a fascist organisation.
Photos of all three have been posted onto the fascist
website which also publishes the addresses of Mr McFadden and Mr Flanagan and has described them as "freaks" and "scumbags".
All three men have reported what has happened to Merseyside police who are now investigating. The website has direct links to the extreme right wing groups Combat 18, Aryan Unity and Order of White Knights. It purports to
raise awareness within the community of marxists who threaten society by revealing personal details such as home addresses, photographs, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
The website says: "When the time comes to revolt, we must be prepared to unleash the furies of hell." The site, which the ECHO has chosen not to name, is registered to a Simon Shepherd, a former BNP organiser from Hull who was arrested and imprisoned in 1999 for producing antisemitic material.
Mr McFadden, a single father-of-two, recently set up the
Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism. He said: "I know what these people are capable of because in 1988 my car was blown up and I received death threats - no one was ever caught for that. "Since then I have been very careful to never release my address or phone number so these people must have followed me home to
get these details. "I have contacted my children's school and asked them to be vigilant - if someone threatens me I will make sure my children are safe."
Mr McFadden has also received a disturbing email from Merseyside BNP candidate Joey Owens featuring photos of his home and his car. The e-mail purports to raise concerns over how he could afford such items, or lead such a lifestyle as a committed socialist. Today Mr Owens admitted sending the e-mail but claimed it was not hreatening in any way. He said: "Mr McFadden has been doing this towards BNP members for years. The boot is on the other for now and they do
not like it. "The reason I did this was because Mr McFadden is the one who is doing this campaign to stop the BNP in the democratic campaign for the elections next year."
Alex McFadden decided to hold an anti-racist festival last year after a Birkenhead mosque was attacked, following the London bombings. The murder of black teenager Anthony Walker was a further spur and brought a rush of offers to take part. The ‘Say No to Racism’ event was held in Princes Park, on Sunday, September 4th 2005, and Alex was interviewed by the BBC.
Joe Owens, who has been a minder for BNP leader Nick Griffin and helped provide security for visiting French fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen on his trip to the North West, is a convicted criminal with a reputation as a gangster.
But oddly enough, the attack on Alex McFadden comes after former BNP Merseyside organiser Owens broke with the party and went public with accusations that London BNP organiser Tony Lecomber had tried to recruit him to an assassination scheme.
Gangster and BNP member reveals all
Apr 17 2006
Jessica Shaughnessy, Daily Post
THE former organiser of the right-wing British National Party on Merseyside has renounced it and says he regrets his violent past.
Joey Owens, who once acted as personal bodyguard to BNP leader Nick Griffin, will be the subject of a hard-hitting book later
this year, named The Nazi Assassin. In it he will be portrayed as an underworld gangster whose name has been linked to a number of alleged assassinations.
Last night, Owens told the Daily Post that he had left the
BNP part of his life behind him, and wanted to warn others about going down the same path.
He said: "I had just had enough of the life I was leading with
the BNP. "When I first joined the party in the eighties, it was very
different to how it is now. It was violent and dangerous, that has changed now, but the stigma still follows you around.
"I just didn't want to be part of it any more."
Owens, from Norris Green, who has a daughter who lives abroad,
says he is now wanted by other members of the underworld and is a target for assassination. He constantly wears a bulletproof vest for his protection.
He said: "I wouldn't say I am living in fear. I am used to that kind of
pressure, I have lived with it for most of my life.
"But I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone else."
Owens, who served eight months in jail for sending razor blades to members of Liverpool's Jewish community, was the BNP organiser for Merseyside and Cheshire.
He says he has relaxed some of his racist views, though he does still feel there are issues on immigration in the UK. He spoke to the Daily Post after it was revealed that his story will be told in the book, The Nazi Assassin, to be published later this year.
The book was written by Liverpool author Graham Johnson, former
investigations editor for the Sunday Mirror, with Owens's co-operation.
Owens added: "He approached me and asked me if I would help him, and I decided it would be better to make sure he got everything right.
"I also thought it might clear a few things up and warn others not to get involved in the same lifestyle."
The book details how Owens was one of the top suspects
for the slaying of TV presenter Jill Dando. It also reveals that a Merseyside Police file describes him as a £100,000-a-time gunman for the criminal gang led by cocaine baron Curtis Warren, currently in jail in Holland.
Last night, Mr Johnson said: "This book does not glorify organised crime or Joey Owens. It is a rigorous investigation into the two very different worlds he lived - the BNP and Liverpool's underworld."
But president of the Merseyside TUC and anti-fascism campaigner Alec McFadden said: "This book is supposed to blow away
any respectability the BNP has, but they didn't have any respectability in the first place.
"As far as I am concerned, Joey Owens, like a lot of the BNP,
has a criminal record and I don't regard that organisation as a genuine political party."
The BNP is putting up one candidate in each Merseyside
borough in the May local elections.
Mr McFadden continued: "It is a good thing for Merseyside that he is no longer involved and the BNP activity will be diminished.
"I am convinced Merseyside will continue its record and will
remain a fascist-free zone in May".
According to a report in the current Searchlight, Owens claimed in a statement issued in April that Lecomber, who has convictions for attempted bombing and for beating up a Jewish teacher, came to see him with talk about "direct action". Asked what he meant, Lecomber replied "targeting members of the establishment who are aiding and abetting the coloured invasion of this country". Asked what exactly he meant by targeting, he replied "killing them".
J'accuse. Gangland hitman points finger at BNP. Nick Lowles, Searchlight, May 2006.
Lecomber claims the discussion in a Pizza Hut in Liverpool was just "hypothetical", though travelling 200 miles for a "hypothetical" chat with a supposed hitman seems a bit dedicated. Owen evidently suspected a set-up. Since Owens went public, Griffin has been forced to let his lieutenant take a rest, though Searchlight claims Lecomber is still on the BNP payroll.
- While the search goes on for who attacked Alex McFadden, we may wonder why this attack, and for that matter the criminal background of leading BNP fascists, has not attracted more attention from the national media.
- Not to mention, why Merseyside police seem to have left it to a reporter to investigate Joe Owens while the alleged hitman was looking after visitors like Le Pen, and standing for the BNP in local politics.
(Thanks to fellow-blogging socialist Dave Osler for drawing attention to the report of the attack on Alex McFadden.
see Dave's Part)