Ex-MI6 man 'directed by voices' admits disclosing secrets

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The Independent Online

A former MI6 worker who says he was "directed by voices" faces a jail sentence after today admitting charges of unlawfully disclosing top secret material.

Daniel Houghton, 25, who worked for the secret intelligence service between September 2007 and May last year, denied a count of theft, but pleaded guilty to two offences under the Official Secrets Act.

Houghton, of Hoxton, east London, who holds British and Dutch nationality, was arrested in a Scotland Yard sting at a London hotel in March.

Wearing an open-necked pale shirt and dark suit, he appeared before Mr Justice Bean at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a plea and case management hearing during which he entered his pleas.

Piers Arnold, prosecuting, asked the judge to adjourn the theft matter until after Houghton was sentenced "with the prosecution's intention to offer no evidence in respect of that charge".

Houghton, who will be sentenced on Friday September 3 at the Old Bailey, was remanded in custody.

The two charges under the Official Secrets Act concern the unlawful disclosure of material "relating to security or intelligence".

They relate to electronic files "containing techniques for intelligence collection" and electronic files containing two staff lists, "which were in his possession by virtue of his position as a former member of the British Secret Intelligence Service".

Houghton denied one count of theft, which alleged that between September 2 2007 and May 13 2009 he "stole property, namely a number of electronic files containing techniques for intelligence collection, belonging to the British Security Service".

Mr Justice Bean heard that Houghton's account was that he was "directed by voices to do what he is said to have done in the charges".

The judge will consider psychiatric reports on Houghton as part of the sentencing exercise.

Duncan Penny, appearing for the defence, said: "He accepts that a custodial sentence is inevitable in this case, given the gravity of the offences concerned."

Houghton's university student flatmate told of her shock at her friend's secret past after his arrest.

American Kimberly Peterson, 27, said she had no idea quietly spoken Houghton used to work for MI6.

The pair were among a group sharing a £250,000 ex-council flat in trendy Hoxton after Houghton joined a graduate programme at Lloyds Bank.

Miss Peterson said "it feels like I am in my own episode of Law And Order" as she revealed police had seized all their computer equipment.