Inquest on 'MI6 agent' is told of obsession

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The Independent Online
THE security expert James Rusbridger was 'obsessed' with the death of the Conservative MP, Stephen Milligan, an inquest was told yesterday.

The body of Mr Rusbridger, 65, a self-proclaimed MI6 agent, was also found in strange circumstances at his rented home in Cornwall last month. He was dressed in three layers of clothing and found hanging from two ropes surrounded by pictures of men and women in bondage situations.

Police also seized video tapes showing bondage from his home and found gas masks and rubber suits, the inquest at Bodmin in Cornwall was told.

Dr David Bruce, the East Cornwall coroner, said Mr Rusbridger was a 'lonely and unhappy man in considerable financial difficulties', and recorded a verdict that he killed himself.

The inquest was told that Mr Rusbridger, an author, was found dressed in a green nuclear biological chemical warfare suit, green overalls, a black plastic mackintosh and thick rubber gloves. His face was covered by a gas mask and he was also wearing a sou'wester.

His body was suspended from two ropes, attached to shackles fastened to a piece of wood across an open loft hatch. Dr Yasai Sivathondan, a consultant pathologist, said he died from asphyxia due to hanging.

She added: 'Both legs were bound at the ankles, knees and upper thighs. This was not simply a suicide. This was in keeping with a form of sexual strangulation.'

Mr Rusbridger was due to be evicted from his home - Jasmine Cottage, Tremorebridge, near Bodmin - for non-payment of pounds 6,000 in rent.

His landlord, David Harris, said Mr Rusbridger had told him earlier that 65 was long enough for anyone to live.

'He told me that I would get my money and would be able to dance on his grave. He said he had financial problems and was deep in debt,' Mr Harris added.

Constable Lance Kennedy said that when he searched the house he found several photographs depicting bondage scenes pinned on the bathroom door. PC Kennedy also found magazines and photos relating to bondage in another room.

Inspector Eric Dawe said there was also a padlocked chain round Mr Rusbridger's waist and he discovered photographs of men and women in similar clothing.

The coroner said Mr Rusbridger 'practised fetishes and bondage and seemed obsessed by the death of Stephen Milligan although there is no reason to suppose he even met him'.

Dr Bruce added: 'He seemed to be leading a somewhat unreal life.

'Mr Rusbridger was an intelligent man and I believe he fully intended the fatal consequences. There have been rumours about plots but there is no evidence of this and I believe there is less in it than meets the eye.'

(Photograph omitted)