Police investigate death of spy writer

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The Independent Online
JAMES RUSBRIDGER, a former MI6 spy, security services expert and prolific newspaper letter writer, was found hanged in his Cornwall home yesterday. Police have sealed off the cottage in Tremorebridge, Lanivet, near Bodmin, where he lived alone.

Four years ago Mr Rusbridger, a cousin of Peter Wright, author of Spycatcher, published The Intelligence Game, a book about the mysterious death of Hilda Murrell, an anti-nuclear protester alleged to have been murdered by British agents.

Yesterday the cottage's owner, David Harris, said the 65-year-old bachelor was wearing a long black oilskin-type coat and a gas mask. 'The body of Mr Rusbridger was lying on his stomach on the landing. There was a rope round his neck and it went up into the loft and then down again and round his ankles.

'I am not unduly surprised at what has happened. Just a few months ago he told me it might not be necessary to evict him. He said: 'I won't be with you on this earth any longer.' '

Mr Harris said that Mr Rusbridger owed pounds 6,000 in rent and was due to be evicted yesterday. He said that soft-porn type photographs, mainly of black women, were pinned behind some of the doors at the cottage. Police, who said the cause of death was not known, took away videos thought to be pornographic.

In 1989 Mr Rusbridger co-wrote another book, Codebreaker Extraordinary, which suggested that Britain had advance warning of the attack on Pearl Harbour but did not tell the Americans because Winston Churchill wanted them to join the war. The book was withdrawn from publication in Britain after government intervention.