Policeman who posed as activist is 'in hiding in fear for his life'
Sunday 16 January 2011
The undercover policeman who controversially posed as an environmental activist, last night claimed he had been made a "scapegoat" and was hiding in the US in "genuine fear for [his] life". Mark Kennedy claimed his undercover policework was highly sensitive and at one time the intelligence he gathered had been passed directly to the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
His controversial secret role was revealed after the collapse of the trial of six people accused of planning to invade Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station near Nottingham in a climate change protest. Lawyers for the accused said charges against them were dropped after Kennedy, a former Metropolitan Police officer who infiltrated the group posing as an environment activist called Mark Stone, offered to give evidence on their behalf.
Kennedy, 41, said he believed tape recordings secretly made by him were withheld from the court by police for fear it would destroy the case, he told the Mail on Sunday. "The truth of the matter is that the tapes clearly show the six defendants who were due to go on trial had not joined any conspiracy. The tapes I made meant the police couldn't prove their case."
He denied "going rogue" and siding with the protesters and claimed the resulting publicity left him feeling "suicidal".
"I can't sleep," he said. "I have lost weight and am constantly on edge. I barricade the door with chairs at night." He said he had been warned that both police and activists were now looking for him. "I am in genuine fear for my life," he said. "People like to think of things in terms of black and white. But the world of undercover policing is grey and murky. There is some bad stuff going on. Really bad stuff."
His work kept police "a step ahead of the game" during planned protests. He claimed his BlackBerry contained a tracking device and said he spoke to a cover officer several times a day. "I didn't sneeze without a superior officer knowing about it."
The father-of-two said he was estranged from his wife while working undercover and said the only time he "crossed the line" was engaging in relationships with two women as Mark Stone. He claimed he "never lost sight of his work".
"Both sides did good things and bad things. I am speaking out in the hope the police can learn from the mistakes that they made."
Major protests he was involved in included the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles when his "invaluable" information about demonstrations was passed to Tony Blair, resulting in a commendation for his role.
At a 2006 protest at the Drax power station in Yorkshire he said he was badly beaten by police while protecting a female activist. He also protested at Didcot power station in Oxfordshire in 2006, the 2008 London G20 summit, and in Copenhagen, Denmark. "I am physically and mentally exhausted," he said. "My world has been destroyed." He separated from his wife in 2000 and said his children, a 10-year-old girl and a boy, 12, are devastated by recent events.
Last night a solicitor called for a full and robust independent inquiry into the undercover operation. Mike Schwarz, who represents many of the protesters involved, said a public inquiry was needed.
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