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

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.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes