The men at the centre of the controversy

Click to follow
Paul Grecian started Ordtech which specialised in exporting high- technology products and expertise mainly to third world countries in 1987.

By 1989 he was fully involved in dealing with Iraq, the largest of those Third World buyers.

His previous career was in advertising, but at the beginning of the eighties he was introduced to the defence world through one of his clients, and was sold on it.

At his high point, Mr Grecian owned an estate in Scotland, called Whitehall. Now he lives a far more modest life, staying in a rent-free house owned by the Crown Estates with only the most basic furniture and carpets.

If there has been a consolation it is that he has more time to spend on his favourite pastime, rugby, which he plays regularly, now as a veteran for London Scottish.

Of late, Mr Grecian's days have been spent either preparing for the appeal or doing the small amount of manual work he manages to pick up. It is a far cry from the days in the late eighties when he was frequently travelling back and forth to Baghdad, lavishly entertaining his Arab customers in London's night-spots, relaxing at his Scottish estate, and holding regular meetings with his Special Branch contact and his security service handlers.

Mr Grecian pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiring to export defence equipment to Iraq in contravention of the Export of Goods (Control) Orders on 24 February 1992. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on each count concurrently suspended for 18 months.

Bryan Mason was Ordtech's chief engineer, closely involved with design and production. Like Mr Grecian, he travelled widely and frequently to Iraq.

He said the whole affair had been a nightmare for him and his family. His wife is a schoolteacher.

"We always wanted to appeal but until the Matrix Churchill trial came along we never realised we could get hold of the papers," he said earlier this week. "I'll be glad when it's all over because I've got other things to do with my life."

The US authorities are still interested in extraditing him, but he hopes this threat might now recede.

Mr Mason pleaded guilty to two charges on 24 February, 1992. He received nine months' imprisonment on each count, concurrently, which was also suspended for 18 months.

Stuart Blackledge was a project engineer based in Geneva and Iraq for Space Research Corporation, the Belgium-based company that created the Iraqi supergun project.

In 1988 SRC received an order from Iraq for a modified version of the M739 fuze. Mr Blackledge approached Ordtech to design, develop, construct and export an assembly line for the fuzes.

Since the trial, Mr Blackledge has worked at British Nuclear Fuels and North West Water as an engineer. He is now working in the car industry.

He says there appeared to be "a lot of pressure on the prosecution to gain a conviction with the minimum of publicity" at the Reading trial.

Mr Blackledge pleaded guilty to one charge a day after the others and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Colin Phillips arranged Ordtech's shipments to Iraq. He then worked for EC Transport in Wimborne, Dorset.

Several months after his conviction, the Home Office withdrew that company's licence for the shipment of dangerous goods, which forced him to resign. Once he had resigned, the company re-applied and got its licence back.

Mr Phillips has since set up his own company, Colin Phillips, which arranges for the shipment of ammunition and explosives.

Now, not surprisingly, he says he feels "a bit numb" about the whole experience.

Mr Phillips pleaded guilty to one charge and was fined pounds 1,000, payable within 6 months with 30 days' imprisonment on default.