Britain First leader ‘admits attack’

Image caption Over the last 18 months, Britain First has been seeking support in Northern Ireland

The leader of the far right group, Britain First, has been secretly recorded admitting to violently attacking his former deputy, Jayda Fransen.

The revelation emerged as part of an investigation by BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight.

It obtained the audio while looking into Britain First and its leader, Paul Golding.

The group has been increasingly active in Northern Ireland.

Over the last 18 months, it has been seeking support in Northern Ireland and has set up its party headquarters in the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

It has also carried out leaflet drops in many towns, including Bangor, Newtownards, Lisburn, Lurgan, Portadown, Portrush and Londonderry.

‘Previously a couple’

In a secret recording, Mr Golding is heard saying he has assaulted both Jayda Fransen and another woman.

Spotlight spoke to a dozen ex-members of Britain First, some from Northern Ireland, who personally witnessed or had been aware of these assaults.

Jayda Fransen has confirmed the allegations are true.

She said she and Paul Golding were a couple for a short time when she joined Britain First in 2014.

After that personal relationship ended, she and others have said the violence continued over a period of roughly four-and-a-half-years, while she was with her party.

She quit Britain First at the start of the year.

Image caption Jayda Fransen has confirmed the allegations are true

The secret recording obtained by the BBC was made in December 2015.

In it, Jayda Fransen is heard repeatedly challenging Paul Golding about the violent attacks he has inflicted on her.

He never denies her claims in the recording.

‘Didn’t come near you’

In one excerpt, the pair can be heard discussing an attempted assault that Golding had apparently carried out on Fransen earlier that day.

In the audio, Golding says: “What happened this morning…you weren’t innocent.”

Fransen responds: “I didn’t come near you.

“You tried to come at me, tried to hit me, you said you were going to kill me and threw a bottle of drink at my face.”

Golding then claims: “Driving someone mentally crazy is just as bad as physical.”

Fransen asks Golding if this is what he said to another woman she suggested he used to physically hit.

She adds: “Everyone drives you crazy, so you beat them, that’s your excuse?”

It is at this point that Golding is heard admitting to assault on both Fransen and a second unnamed woman, when he says: “The only girls I lay a finger on in my life is (name of woman withheld) and you.”

The programme also aired CCTV footage of Golding fighting with a former Britain First member in a Belfast street in December, and raised serious questions about the organisation’s finances.

The BBC put all allegations to Golding.

He did not answer any of the specific questions.

But he said: “I have been advised to warn you that any libel or defamation will result in legal proceedings.”

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