A radicalised white supremacist who was stockpiling homemade guns has been “obsessed” with firearms since he was five, a court has heard.
Michael James Holt, 26, pleaded guilty last year to manufacturing and possessing guns, knuckledusters and slingshots at his mother’s house in Windsor, his grandfather’s house in nearby Hobartville and room five at the Tall Timbers pub hotel in Ourimbah.
In an agreed statement of facts, an anonymous caller, who tipped police off to Holt’s gun stash, said Holt often talked about loading weapons into his car and driving to a public place where he would “just start shooting it up”.
He had recently said he wanted to do this at Westfield in Tuggerah on the Central Coast.
In a sentencing hearing in Penrith District Court on Friday, Holt’s lawyer Paul Bodisco emphatically denied that his client had expressed such a desire.
He said Holt was an obsessive gun collector and there was no evidence he had any intention of using them for violence.
He said his client’s offending was “causally related” to his autism spectrum disorder, which led to his obsessive behaviour.
Making guns was “an outgrowth of this fascination he had”, Mr Bodisco said.
He said Holt, who previously told a school teacher that Adolf Hitler was “the greatest person to live”, has been undertaking cognitive therapy in jail to change his behaviour.
He has also been counselled by a reformed white supremacist as part of a deradicalisation program funded by NSW Police.
However, Judge Jeffery McLennan questioned whether he could be rehabilitated.
“He has been obsessed with guns since the age of five,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult isn’t it?”
Holt had dropped out of a business course at Evocca College in Gosford in the lead-up to his arrest in 2015.
He was infatuated with neo-Nazi ideology and once told a school friend that he dreamed of walking through the school shooting students and teachers, the agreed statement of facts said.
The court heard he identified as a member of the Christian Separatist Church, an extreme, anti-Jewish church movement in the US.
On his online profiles, he posted pro-gun violence and anti-government rants, uploaded videos of homemade guns and made “disturbing” posts about killing himself and others after a failed relationship.
When police raided his rented room at the Tall Timbers Hotel, they found eight firearms hidden in the cupboards and a flick knife and slingshot in the fridge.
Some guns were “slam fire” guns, capable of firing a single shot.
Pipes and other gun parts, hand drawings relating to making guns, Nazi memorabilia and white supremacy propaganda were also found.
Prosecutor Alex Brown argued Holt’s online conversations showed an intent to be violent.
“It all points to the fact that there may have been other purposes other than just [gun] collection,” Ms Brown said.
Holt will be sentenced in April.