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ISBN 978-1-5286-4212-5

E02786195    06/2023

HC 1539

Home/UCPI Interim Report for Tranche 1/Chapter 3: The Special Operations Squad 1971 and the Special Demonstration Squad 1972 to 1973

Chapter 3: The Special Operations Squad 1971 and the Special Demonstration Squad 1972 to 1973

  1. In 1972, two changes of no significance for the purposes of this report occurred: the Special Operations Squad (SOS) was renamed the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – and shall be referred to as the SDS hereafter; and the accounting year was changed to coincide with the fiscal year.1 Between 1971 and 1973, an unannounced change of greater significance also occurred: the standard duration of operational activity by a typical undercover officer settled down to about four years. The number of undercover officers deployed at any one time increased to 12.2 The officers in operational charge of the SDS were HN332 Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Sinclair in 1971, and HN294, a detective inspector in 1972 and detective chief inspector in 1973.
  2.  Self-tasking by undercover officers continued, but tended to focus on individuals and groups within the following categories: Irish, Trotskyists, Maoists, anarchists and opponents of apartheid.
  3. The memorandum produced by the detective chief inspector in operational charge of the unit had, by now, become in all but name its annual report. It focused on groups within these categories. The three annual reports for 1971 to 19733 acknowledged that, with the possible exception of a demonstration in Whitehall held soon after “Bloody Sunday” in 1972 (on 5 February 1972), no significant public disorder had occurred. HN294 acknowledged, in the 1972 annual report, that that demonstration “underlined the lesson police have learned in recent years – that a demonstration held about a week after an emotive event, though small, is likely to be violent”.4 By contrast, those held sooner were “disjointed and poorly supported”; and those later, “usually too far removed from the motivation to achieve anything like the sharpness of the more immediate protest”.5 This appears to have been the common understanding of those working within the SDS in this period, because it was repeated by HN103 David Smith, a back office sergeant between 1970 and 1974, in an essay prepared during the Bramshill inspectors’ course in 1979.6
  4. The groups identified in the annual reports do not coincide precisely with those in retrieved intelligence reports or with the evidence of living undercover officers. Nothing is likely to turn on this and the narrative set out below is mainly based on the last two.
  5. A total of 634 written reports have been retrieved from Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Security Service records for the calendar year 1972 and analysed, to permit an assessment to be made of the topics covered by them. These break down as follows: 182 deal with the identification and lives of individuals; 456 deal with the political activities and organisation of the groups infiltrated and/or reported on; and 160 contain some reference to activities, past and future (mostly the latter), which might have something to do with public order. (The total number exceeds 634, because many of the reports in the last two categories cover more than one topic – typically, a report on the political activities of a group will contain a brief reference to a future event in which its members may participate.)
  6. Irish groups were penetrated by HN68 (“Sean Lynch”) and HN340 (“Andy Bailey”/“Alan Nixon”), as already noted in Chapter 2. HN340 was the first undercover officer to be withdrawn because of concerns about his safety. He reported that the owner of his cover accommodation overheard a threat to him, in an Irish accent, in a telephone conversation. He was immediately withdrawn.7
  7. In early 1972, HN585 Commander Matthew Rodger made arrangements to transfer HN344 (“Ian Cameron”), who had already acquired some knowledge of the Irish Republican field in Special Branch, into the SDS, with a view to him reporting on a small new quasi-military group, the Northern Minority Defence Force (NMDF).8 At a meeting of ten men on 25 March 1972, he was appointed to the “headquarters staff” of the group, which discussed sending a military unit to Northern Ireland to take part in what they believed to be the imminent outbreak of civil war.9 He had by then also become the NMDF delegate to another Irish group, the Anti-Internment League (AIL).10 Both the NMDF and HN344’s deployment were short-lived. The former split at a meeting attended by HN344 on 18 May 1972.11 His deployment ended when he was asked to go to Londonderry by one member of the group with three others. Permission for him to go was refused after Matthew Rodger reported to the Deputy Assistant Commissioner that it would be too dangerous for him to do so.12
  8. HN298 (“Michael Scott”), HN301 (“Bob Stubbs”) and HN338 also reported on the AIL. HN301 infiltrated the Hammersmith and Fulham branch from May 1972 until it ceased to function in February 1973.13 HN298 attended meetings of the Central London branch from September 1972 until the central delegate committee decided not to reconvene on 2 October 1973.14 All three officers attended the AIL national conference on 7 and 8 October 1972, at which support was expressed for the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) bombing campaign.15 That apart, with the exception of discussions about plans for a “Bloody Sunday” march in central London on 28 January 1973,16 meetings were generally held to listen to talks on Irish affairs and relations with other Republican support groups.
  9. A variety of Maoist groups were infiltrated. HN45 (“David Robertson”) was tasked to do so. As frequently occurred, he began, in mid-1970, by attending public meetings – of the English Communist Movement (Marxist–Leninist)17 – and talks by Abhimanyu Manchanda on Marxist topics at the Britain–Vietnam Solidarity Front (BVSF)18 and the Revolutionary Marxist–Leninist League (RMLL).19 By January 1971, he was admitted to private meetings of the RMLL and was able to witness the disputes between its members about both political and personal matters.20 Diane Langford doubted that he would have been able to gain entry to all of the meetings on which he reported. She also criticises the tone and accuracy of his reporting and its completeness (because it omits reference to a particularly striking accusation of personal misconduct by one male member).21 I am satisfied that he did attend the meetings on which he reported and that his reporting is broadly accurate. In one respect, it was plainly right: he predicted that the group would soon disband.22 It became inactive by September 1972.23 He also reported on attempts to revive the BVSF24 and on its committee’s plan for a demonstration against the inauguration of President Nixon on 20 January 1973.25 His deployment came to a sudden end in circumstances described below.
  10. On 22 January 1971, HN45 reported on plans for the recently formed North London branch of the Women’s Liberation Front (WLF), to be led by two female members of the RMLL.26 This led to the deployment of HN348 (“Sandra”), one of only two female officers then serving in the SDS. She attended a public meeting of the WLF on 17 February 197127 and was invited to attend a private meeting on 25 February 1971.28 She attended and reported on that and subsequent meetings. The group devoted most of its time to ideological discussion. In the opinion of HN348, it was “really just a disorganised group with a couple of very vocal members” (the two who had been identified by HN45 as its leaders).29 By the end of 1971, they had fallen out. As reported by HN348, the issues that gave rise to the falling out were as follows: disagreement about their reports of a Women’s National Liberation Conference held on 16–17 October 1971, which had ended in turmoil;30 a proposal to change the name of the group to the “Revolutionary Women’s League”;31 and an accusation by one against the other that she was disruptive.32 That led to a showdown on 20 March 1972, at a meeting attended by ten people, at which the accused woman responded to a resolution calling for her suspension by making a statement on behalf of the Marxist–Leninist Workers Association members of the Revolutionary Women’s Union (RWU). She and her two supporters then left.33
  11. Thereafter, HN348 continued to report on the yet more sparsely attended meetings of the RWU. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for activities, it did support the Schools Action Union strike on 8 May 1972,34 supported by about 800 children in North London, and the nurseries campaign.35 She also reported on national conferences: the third National Women’s Liberation Conference on 25–26 March 1972,36 reportedly dominated by anarchists; the National Women’s Conference Committee of the Women’s Liberation Movement on 9 September 1972, which she described as “childish, disjointed and unrealistic”;37 and the better organised fourth National Women’s Liberation Conference on 3–5 November 1972.38
  12. HN348 did not question the justification for her deployment at the time, but in hindsight does so.39 Her contemporaneous reporting must have made it clear to her superiors that the groups on which she was reporting posed no threat to public order or to the state. Despite that, the WLF was named in the 1970 and 1971 annual reports, and the RWU, WLF and Schools Action Union in the 1972 annual report. It is hard to credit that penetration of or even reporting on these groups could have been thought worthwhile. Perhaps for that reason, she was not replaced when she was withdrawn from deployment at the same time as HN45.
  13. HN45, HN348 and HN346 Jill Mosdell, who had just started to report on Maoist groups, were withdrawn from deployment in February 1973, when HN45 was recognised by a member of the public – an Irish woman who was a work colleague and friend of Diane Langford – who knew him to be a policeman. Exactly what happened has been the subject of disputed evidence. What is not in doubt is that the incident occurred on 6 February 1973 at a meeting of the Indo-China Solidarity Conference held at the London School of Economics (LSE), attended by Diane Langford, HN45 and HN346, and about 60 others, and that the Irish woman recognised HN45 as a policeman.40
  14. I am satisfied, for reasons explained in the closed interim report, that they did know each other and that HN45 did know that she was an Irish woman. He has a vivid recollection of her saying, as he entered the room from the stairs, in a loud voice, “Here are Scotland Yard come to take us away,” whereupon he pretended to give her a hug, told her to say nothing and departed hurriedly, alone.41 Diane Langford’s evidence is that the Irish woman recognised HN45 and that he grabbed her by the wrist and said that he wanted to talk to her outside, whereupon both of them left. The Irish woman spoke to Diane Langford about a week later and told her that HN45 worked for Special Branch, and would cause something nasty to happen to her family in Ireland if she told Diane Langford or Abhimanyu Manchanda.42 Diane Langford made a note of what had been said, to which she referred in a dissertation written in 2005.43
  15. Because the Irish woman has not been traced and has not provided any evidence of her own about the incident, I cannot reach or express a considered view about exactly what happened, save in two respects. I believe that it is very unlikely that the Irish woman identified HN45 as a policeman in a loud voice within earshot of the group attending the meeting. Someone else, not least Diane Langford, would have remembered if she had done so. I also believe that it is very unlikely that HN45 made a threat about what would happen to her family in Ireland if she revealed his identity. She had nothing to fear from him and he knew nothing that could have caused him to believe that such a threat might be effective. What matters is that he and HN348 and HN346 had to be immediately withdrawn from deployment as a result of the incident. Their withdrawal meant that there were no female undercover officers in the SDS for the first time since its formation.
  16. Their withdrawal occurred immediately before the date on which the 1972 annual report was signed, 14 February 1973. Detective Inspector HN294 stated: “Whenever there has been doubt [suspicion that an undercover officer was a spy] the officer’s personal safety and the security of the operation have been given priority and the officer has been withdrawn.”44 If HN45’s recollection is right, the true reasons may have included a wish to protect the secrecy of the SDS within the MPS and the reputation of the MPS. HN45 said that the Head of Special Branch, HN1253 Deputy Assistant Commissioner Victor Gilbert, and an officer identified by HN45 by name as Deputy Commissioner Roland Watts (presumably HN1254 Chief Superintendent Rollo Watts) told him that, if he was ever confronted about being an undercover officer, he should say that he was acting “off his own bat” and that his superior officers were unaware of what he was doing.45
  17. HN347 (“Alex Sloan”) was recruited into the SDS in late 1970 or very early 1971. He was tasked to report on a specific Maoist group, the Irish National Liberation Solidarity Front (INLSF).46 This was a small group of which Edward Davoren was the leading figure. Dr Norman Temple joined it in September 1970 and remained a member for about a year.47 He has provided an interesting and detailed account of its affairs during the time that he and HN347 belonged to it. It accords with the retrieved reporting and current recollection of HN347. Edward Davoren was a charismatic and dominant leader who considered that he was always right. Despite its name, he insisted that the INLSF was a British revolutionary group. Much time at meetings was devoted to the need for revolutionary change, to be achieved by violence; but, as both Dr Norman Temple and HN347 realised, that was for the theoretical future.48 The group did not practise or advocate violence in the present. Its main activities were producing and selling its newspaper, the Irish Liberation Press, and planning small demonstrations.
  18. HN347 reported on one incident of note, in advance of its occurrence: a public meeting at Islington Town Hall on 15 March 1971, when a “People’s Court” would be held to try “the pigs who murdered Stephen McCarthy”.49 At two subsequent meetings, on 21 March50 and 2 May 1971,51 Edward Davoren told meetings of the group about plans for possible legal action to further the McCarthy family campaign. HN347 reported on these events. He did not infiltrate the family’s campaign.
  19. As HN347 reported and Dr Norman Temple remembers, the INLSF inevitably split when, on 16 June 1971, Edward Davoren secured the expulsion of those who disagreed with him from the inner core of the group.52 They forestalled their expulsion from the group as such at a special conference on 26 and 27 June 1971, attended by 26 members, by their departure and declaration that they would have nothing further to do with him.53
  20. Both HN347 and Dr Norman Temple have provided a truthful account of how HN347’s deployment ended. On paper, their accounts differed. Once both had given oral evidence, it became clear that the differences were marginal and readily explicable by differences of perception and knowledge at the time and by the passage of time. Dr Norman Temple’s understanding of what was happening was based on a more intimate knowledge of Edward Davoren and the inner workings of the INLSF than that possessed by HN347, who never penetrated the inner core of the group. HN347 was accused of being a police informant by one of the dissidents. Edward Davoren shared that belief, but pretended not to and publicly held it against the dissident. Both Dr Norman Temple and HN347 say that the dissident reacted angrily to the accusation. HN347 remembers being followed to his cover address by two INLSF members, one of whom was his accuser,54 though it is not clear whether this occurred before or after the accusation was made. In his written evidence, Dr Norman Temple stated his belief that HN347 was trying to sow further discord within the group by identifying the two who followed him as being on different sides of the split.55 This would have been a refinement too far: all that HN347 was determined to do was to leave the group unscathed.
  21. The reason and justification for the deployment of HN347 into the INLSF is far from clear. It was, and was throughout known to be, no real threat to public order or the state.
  22. The infiltration of Trotskyist groups began to become a regular feature of deployments in this period. The first group infiltrated by HN339 (“Stewart Goodman”) was the Dambusters Mobilising Committee (DMC) in the autumn of 1970, in succession to HN326 (“Douglas Edwards”). As HN326 had found, this group’s preferred tactic was peaceful disruption, by sit-ins at branches of Barclays bank and by protests at shareholders’ meetings. HN339’s reports contain no reference to any past or prospective breaches of the criminal law. In hindsight, he believes that he was tasked to infiltrate this group as a means of gaining entry to a more militant group.56 He may be right. It is difficult to conceive of any other justification for infiltrating the DMC.
  23. HN339 was then tasked to infiltrate the International Socialists (IS). His recollection is that he answered an advertisement in the IS newspaper for volunteers and got in touch with the organiser of the Lambeth branch.57 The first surviving report by him about IS is dated 9 February 1971 and concerns its forthcoming annual conference on 10–12 April 1971.58 He attended the conference and produced a detailed report on what had transpired and who attended.59 His recollection, which is confirmed by instances of similar reporting by other officers, is that he prepared it with the aid of an account of the conference circulated to IS members.60 He produced regular reports on the affairs of the branch, which he acknowledged to be of little Special Branch interest. He also attended the autumn rally in Skegness, on 16–17 October 1971,61 and reported on the forthcoming conference to be held in December 1971, to discuss the expulsion of the “Trotskyist Tendency”.62 He did not attend that conference because, by then, his deployment had ended abruptly. When returning, intoxicated, from a meeting with activists in a public house, in his SDS car, he crashed into a tree. Uniformed officers attended the scene. He told them who he was. He was charged with driving without due care and attention and pleaded guilty. HN1251 Detective Chief Inspector Phil Saunders attended court and took steps to ensure that HN339 was not compromised.63 There is no reference to this incident in the 1971 annual report.
  24. HN338’s principal target was the International Marxist Group (IMG). According to retrieved reports, he had begun to report on Notting Hill IMG and the London aggregate in April 1972.64 He attended the annual general meeting held on 21–23 April 1973,65 at which two groups and four tendencies were unable to agree on the key issue for decision: whether or not to achieve progress by concentrating on local or national organisations. His report was careful and detailed and not without humour: he noted that because of discrepancies in the accreditation of delegates, those voting were required to raise playing cards, with the Union Jack printed upside down on the back. On 11 June 1973, his report was commended by Matthew Rodger, who commented, prematurely as it turned out, that the IMG no longer posed any real threat to public order.66 During his deployment, HN338 also reported on the decision of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC) committee, on 16 November 1971, to cease activity in its own right, and continue only within the IMG;67 and, on 26 October 1972, on the fact that the AIL was now controlled by the IMG.68 The only meeting of note (of 12 members of the West London AIL) on which he reported occurred on 5 March 1973: a (Provisional) Sinn Fein speaker’s statement that the Irish war was motivated by nationalism and was not a class war was roundly denounced by the audience.69
  25. HN343 (“John Clinton”) was tasked to infiltrate IS, but left free to decide which branch he would join.70 He joined the Croydon branch in the autumn of 1971 and the Hammersmith and Fulham branch in late 1972 or early 1973. Surviving reports show that he obtained, probably from the branches, details of what was occurring at national level. On 9 December 1971, the Croydon branch secretary reported on the outcome of the special national conference on 4 December 1971, at which it was decided that the “Trotskyist Tendency” and IS would split.71 In March 1972, he obtained a report of the national committee, to be presented at the forthcoming annual conference on 1–3 April 1972.72 He attended the conference and on 27 April 1972 produced a detailed report on what had transpired and who had attended.73 Thereafter, he provided periodic reports on the internal organisation of IS, its senior personnel and medium-term aims, which, in November 1973, included industrial intervention.74 His deployment ended, at his own request, in 1974.75
  26. HN343 understood, from the start, that the purpose of his deployment was twofold: to provide advance intelligence of events that might disturb the public order; and to gather information about subversive activity and those participating in it, which would be provided to the Security Service.76
  27. HN299/342 (“David Hughes”) joined the SDS in 1971. He was not tasked to infiltrate a specific group, but began by going to the public meetings of left-wing groups advertised in Time Out magazine.77 By November 1971, he was attending private meetings of a small number of members of the Spartacus League (SL) and IMG.78 For most of his deployment, he reported on the IMG: on its alignment with SL in 1971 and 1972, on its unsuccessful attempts to infiltrate the Labour Party,79 trade unions80 and the Troops Out Movement (TOM)81 and on meetings of the Irish Solidarity Campaign (ISC).82 Together with HN338, he attended and produced an extensive report on the IMG/SL fusion conference held 27–29 May 1972.83 Little in the way of activity disruptive of public order or threatening to the state was mooted during these meetings. The statement by an IMG speaker, at a meeting of the committee for the defence of student unions on 21–22 January 1972, that he was looking for three volunteers for special action during a demonstration that would involve breaking the law,84 and the proposal for a collection among building workers for PIRA at a meeting of the ISC on 10 February 1972,85 stand out because of their rarity.
  28. HN299/342 also produced occasional reports on Red Circle,86 AIL,87Fight On (the renamed Lotta Continua)88 and on the North London Claimants Union.89 He was a frequent attender at small meetings of Marxist/Maoist study groups and witnessed, like HN45 and HN348, vehement disagreements between participants90 and, like HN347, discussions about large-scale violence in the theoretical future. By way of example, at one class held on 30 April 1974, one speaker said that, when the socialist revolution took place, two million people in the UK would have to be liquidated, because they could not be converted to the cause of the revolution or would present a threat to it.91 In his witness statement, HN299/342 observes, accurately, that the people he reported on talked about revolution a lot and attended a lot of demonstrations, but did not actually engage in subversive activities.92 He did not witness or participate in any public disorder.93 His deployment continued until 1976.94
  29. HN301 joined the SDS in 1971 and was deployed in early 1972.95 He was tasked to befriend a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. He did not succeed.96 He then began to report on IS and produced a careful and detailed account of its annual conference on 17–20 March 1973.97 A good deal of his reporting has not been retrieved, but it is clear that he did become a member of the Wandsworth and Battersea branch98 and, by early 1976, of the Paddington branch, of which he became treasurer.99 His understanding was that the function of the SDS was to gather intelligence about those who posed a threat to public order, but that it “gradually morphed into more of a general intelligence- gathering unit”.100 As already noted in paragraph 8, he also attended and reported on meetings of the AIL.101
  30. Two undercover officers had short deployments, which appear to have achieved nothing. HN349 was tasked to infiltrate anarchist groups, but failed to do so because he was unable to gain the trust of participants.102 HN345 (“Peter Fredericks”) served in the SDS for a matter of months in 1971.103 For reasons that I need not resolve, but which reflect no personal discredit on him, he was then returned to another squad within Special Branch. Two reports attributable to him have been retrieved, both of small meetings of the Black Defence committee in September 1971, during which nothing of interest to Special Branch occurred.104 His recollection is that he also reported on one of the groups protesting at the actions of the Pakistan Government in what was then East Pakistan.105 His reporting is likely to have been the foundation for the reference to Action Bangladesh and, perhaps, the Afro-Asian American Association in the 1971 annual report.
  31. One officer merits lengthier analysis, because of the range and nature of the groups penetrated by him and because of one incident, which has given rise to a referral to the Home Office panel charged with considering possible miscarriages of justice arising out of the deployment of an undercover officer. He is HN298.
  32. HN298 knew of the existence of the SDS and wanted to join it.106 He did so towards the end of 1971.107 As is the case with other officers recruited at this time, he received no formal training.108 He may well have been the first undercover officer to research the name of a person at Somerset House for the purpose of constructing a cover identity. He did not choose the identity of a deceased child.109 He had cover accommodation, and chose his own cover work.110 He was not tasked to infiltrate any particular group.111
  33. The first group he infiltrated was the Putney branch of the Young Liberals, of which Peter Hain was honorary president. It is likely that, as David Smith explained, he did so as a stepping stone to other groups.112 The first meeting he attended of which there is a retrieved report took place in the home of Peter Hain’s parents on 6 January 1972.113 Within a fortnight, he was elected membership secretary of the branch, as he reported on 26 January 1972.114 He attended and reported on meetings of the national council of Young Liberals in Leicester on 29–30 January 1972,115 of the branch on 3 February 1972116 and of the Easter conference held in Morecambe from 31 March to 3 April 1972. He produced a comprehensive retrospective report of its proceedings on 4 May 1972, which included a list of the names of some of the 600 people who had attended and of those elected as its officers.117 Discussions at all levels were purely political. Only three topics on which he reported had anything to do with public order: forthcoming marches on 19 February and 14 May 1972; and the progress of a transit van, with a loudspeaker on board along the proposed route of the West Cross Route, accompanied by leafleting, an event which passed off without untoward incident, as he reported on 30 June 1972.118 He reported on the outcome of Young Liberal conferences in 1973 and 1974.119 It is not clear if he attended them. His superiors must have realised that the Young Liberals were not a legitimate target for infiltration, because they did not feature as an organisation penetrated by the SDS in the annual reports for 1972 and 1973.
  34. At the same time, HN298 attended meetings of “Commitment/Croydon Libertarians”, an ineffectual group of libertarian anarchists. The high point of their activity, on which HN298 reported on 12 April 1973,120 was the hanging of a chain, for five minutes, across Church Street, Croydon, on 6 April 1973, to support the pedestrianisation of the street. They were identified as a penetrated group in the annual reports for 1972 and 1973.121
  35. The incident that has given rise to the referral to the Home Office panel occurred on 12 May 1972 outside what was then known as the Star and Garter hotel in Richmond. The British Lions rugby team had gathered there to prepare for their departure by coach to Heathrow airport to catch their flight to South Africa. Information about their intention was provided to Peter Hain by friendly sports journalists opposed to apartheid.122 A plan, mainly organised by Ernest Rodker, was mooted to disrupt it.123 On the afternoon of 12 May 1972, a meeting of 21 people was convened at Ernest Rodker’s home.124 HN298’s evidence is that he learnt of the plan from Peter Hain’s mother, probably by telephone.125 Lord Hain told the Inquiry that his mother, given her experience in South Africa, would not have alerted him about the meeting by telephone and wonders whether or not he learnt of it by other means.126 His suspicion may be misplaced: HN298 was the membership secretary of the branch of the Young Liberals, of which her son was honorary president, and he had attended meetings in her home. However, what matters for the purposes of this report is not how HN298 came to learn of the meeting, but what happened at it and at the hotel.
  36. HN298 reported that the plan discussed was for two people to disable the coach and for its exit from the car park to be blocked by three cars.127 Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, who attended both the meeting and the protest, accepts that his description of the plan is accurate, but insists that there was no intention to obstruct the highway outside the car park.128 Whatever the intention, the presence of a uniformed police officer deterred the disabling of the coach, and building workers removed the cars. About 20 protesters then sat down to obstruct the departure of the coach. Uniformed police arrived and removed the protesters. Fourteen were arrested and charged with obstructing the highway and with obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty.129 Ten were tried at Mortlake Magistrates’ Court on 14 June and 12 July 1972, convicted of both charges, fined £10 on the first and conditionally discharged on the second. HN298, Ernest Rodker and Christabel Gurney were among them. Jonathan Rosenhead was convicted of the first charge only and fined £10. No evidence was offered against him on the second. One man was sentenced at Sutton Crown Court, following his committal on a connected driving charge. One was acquitted of both charges on 23 August 1972.130
  37. All defendants advanced a defence: that the incident had taken place entirely in the car park. If it had, they should not have been convicted of obstructing the highway; and, because the protest did not give rise to any apprehended breach of the peace, should also not have been convicted of obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty, by refusing to move at his direction. HN298 participated in the proceedings under his cover name and, with the other defendants, pleaded not guilty.
  38. The facts and circumstances of the arrest and pending court proceedings were reported by HN298 to Detective Inspector HN294, and by him to Matthew Rodger. In a note dated 16 May 1972, HN294 contemplated that HN298 would probably have to apply for legal aid and attend meetings with all those arrested and discuss tactics.131 He and Matthew Rodger decided to await developments. HN151 Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ferguson Smith decided that, provided the charges remained as then formulated, “[W]e should not run into difficulties and [HN298] will have to go through with it.”132 In a note dated 26 June 1972, HN294 recorded his opinion that the outcome was beneficial to the SDS.133 There is no suggestion in the evidence of HN298, or in the two notes described, that the court was informed of the fact that one of the defendants was an undercover police officer.
  39. HN298 recalls that solicitor Benedict Birnberg spoke to all arrested at the police station as a group and advised them to plead not guilty.134 On 21 May 1972, HN298 attended a meeting at the home of Jonathan Rosenhead at which the evidential value of press photographs of the event, which Benedict Birnberg had obtained, was discussed.135 On 11 June 1972, at a meeting of those arrested, Jonathan Rosenhead reported on advice that they had been given on the previous day by Benedict Birnberg.136
  40. The reasons for the referral of the case to the Home Office panel are set out in the note dated 7 June 2021.137 This is the first occasion on which a deliberate decision was made not to disclose to the prosecutor or the court the participation of an undercover officer in the events, which gave rise to the contested case with which both were dealing and in the hearings themselves. The case was referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to Kingston Crown Court, which allowed the appeal on 17 January 2023.
  41. As already noted in paragraph 8, HN298 also reported from September 1972 onwards on the AIL.138 His later reporting on the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) will be dealt with in Chapter 4.
Chapter 2
Chapter 4


  1. MPS-0728970
  2. MPS-0728971
  3. MPS-0728971, MPS-0728970, MPS-0728975
  4. MPS-0728970 p11
  5. Ibid.
  6. MPS-0747444
  7. First Witness Statement of HN340 para 111
  8. MPS-0734406
  9. MPS-0734410
  10. MPS-0734416
  11. MPS-0734415
  12. MPS-0724171
  13. MPS-0728847, UCPI0000008047
  14. MPS-0728836, UCPI0000008097
  15. MPS-0728845
  16. MPS-0728904
  17. UCPI0000014373
  18. UCPI0000010254
  19. UCPI0000011737
  20. UCPI0000010567, UCPI0000011741
  21. Diane Langford Transcript of Oral Evidence p72
  22. UCPI0000011741
  23. UCPI0000014363
  24. UCPI0000010246
  25. UCPI0000010247
  26. UCPI0000010567
  27. UCPI0000026988
  28. UCPI0000026989
  29. First Witness Statement of HN348 para 32
  30. UCPI0000027017 (conference), UCPI0000027024
  31. UCPI0000010906
  32. UCPI0000010907
  33. UCPI0000010917
  34. UCPI0000010928
  35. UCPI0000011753
  36. UCPI0000008274
  37. UCPI0000008280 p4
  38. UCPI0000008284
  39. First Witness Statement of HN348 para 133, HN348 Transcript of Oral Evidence pp45–7
  40. UCPI0000016247
  41. First Witness Statement of HN45 para 85
  42. First Witness Statement of Diane Langford para 219
  43. Diane Langford, ‘The Manchanda Connection’, dissertation, DOC058
  44. MPS-0728970 para 19
  45. First Witness Statement of HN45 para 86
  46. First Witness Statement of HN347 para 27
  47. Witness Statement of Norman Temple para 6
  48. Ibid. para 11, HN347 Transcript of Oral Evidence p135
  49. MPS-0739483 p2
  50. MPS-0739487
  51. MPS-0739317
  52. MPS-0739470
  53. UCPI0000007822
  54. First Witness Statement of HN347 para 78
  55. Witness Statement of Norman Temple para 19
  56. First Witness Statement of HN339 para 28
  57. Ibid. para 33
  58. UCPI0000007921
  59. UCPI0000007924
  60. First Witness Statement of HN339 para 56
  61. MPS-0731841
  62. MPS-0735903 p1
  63. First Witness Statement of HN339 paras 66–9
  64. UCPI0000008948
  65. MPS-0729047
  66. MPS-0729093
  67. UCPI0000005835
  68. MPS-0736961
  69. UCPI0000008059
  70. First Witness Statement of HN343 para 52
  71. MPS-0731828
  72. UCPI0000007889
  73. UCPI0000007931
  74. UCPI0000007920
  75. First Witness Statement of HN343 para 153
  76. Ibid. paras 19–23
  77. First Witness Statement of HN299/342 para 65
  78. MPS-0732356
  79. UCPI0000007598
  80. UCPI0000009616
  81. UCPI0000008229 p7
  82. UCPI0000008275
  83. UCPI0000015694
  84. UCPI0000007940 para 9
  85. UCPI0000008275 para 3
  86. UCPI0000008952
  87. UCPI0000007952
  88. UCPI0000016221
  89. UCPI0000008158
  90. UCPI0000014712
  91. UCPI0000008823
  92. First Witness Statement of HN299/342 para 180
  93. Ibid. para 177
  94. Ibid. para 201
  95. First Witness Statement of HN301 para 8
  96. Ibid. para 27
  97. UCPI0000007905
  98. UCPI0000015010
  99. UCPI0000009537
  100. First Witness Statement of HN301 para 35
  101. MPS-0728913
  102. First Witness Statement of HN349 para 24
  103. First Witness Statement of HN345 para 21
  104. UCPI0000026455, UCPI0000026456
  105. First Witness Statement of HN345 para 36
  106. First Witness Statement of HN298 para 9
  107. Ibid. para 6
  108. Ibid. para 13
  109. Ibid. para 17
  110. Ibid. paras 29 and 31
  111. Ibid. para 39
  112. HN103 Transcript of Oral Evidence p61 lines 4–20
  113. UCPI0000008551
  114. UCPI0000008240
  115. UCPI0000008241
  116. UCPI0000008244
  117. UCPI0000008255
  118. UCPI0000008259
  119. UCPI0000008267, UCPI0000008268
  120. UCPI0000008152
  121. MPS-0728970, MPS-0728975
  122. First Witness Statement of Lord Peter Hain para 146
  123. First Witness Statement of Ernest Rodker para 156
  124. MPS-0526782
  125. First Witness Statement of HN298 para 157
  126. First Witness Statement of Lord Peter Hain para 147
  127. MPS-0526782 p9
  128. First Witness Statement of Jonathan Rosenhead para 61
  129. MPS-0737087
  130. MPS-0737126
  131. MPS-0526782 p7
  132. Ibid. p2
  133. Ibid. p3
  134. First Witness Statement of HN298 para 93
  135. MPS-0737109
  136. MPS-0737108
  137. First reference to the Miscarriages of Justice Panel (
  138. MPS-0728836