Metropolitan Police Metropolitan Police. Photo: tbz.foto / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, license linked at bottom of article

In this compelling testimony to the Spycops Inquiry, a woman using the pseudonym Madeleine tells her story of how she became part of the revolutionary left and how her trust was betrayed by the undercover police





I am known in this Inquiry as Madeleine. I was granted anonymity and invited to become a core participant in this Inquiry because I was deceived into an intimate sexual relationship with an undercover officer in the SDS who I knew as Vince Miller.

The relationship happened over 40 years ago and lasted for a short period of time over the summer and early autumn of 1979 until he suddenly disappeared. I knew him for 3 years after he infiltrated my SWP branch at the beginning of 1977.

Vince Miller (HN354) has admitted to a total of 4 sexual relationships during his ‘unremarkable’ deployment [1] but at the present time only his undercover name is known to me. The Chair has now decided to revoke the anonymity order granted to HN354 and to release his real name. I would like to thank the Chair for his decision – it is absolutely the right thing to do, but for the wrong reason as HN354 shouldn’t have had his identity protected in the first place. HN354 lost the right to privacy due to his abusive acts and no legitimate reasons have been given for withholding his real name.

The innocent victims of sexual abuse by undercover officers are neither violent nor criminal. We pose absolutely no threat to these officers or their families. Our involvement with the inquiry is simply to help uncover the truth. We seek justice for the many harms inflicted on us- not retribution. Anonymity and secrecy are hampering this process of discovery and denying many other victims the knowledge that they too have been affected and preventing them from coming forward.

I would also like to thank the Chair for giving me the opportunity to share my experience and to tell my story as I believe that the voices of those affected by undercover policing should be at the very heart of this inquiry. Our stories play a crucial role in exposing the true nature of state surveillance and the impact that spying has on the lives of its innocent targets. Investigations relying solely on the interpretations of lawyers pawing over files and arguing the legality of police actions, perpetuate the pain and sense of injustice felt by the NSCPs who have already suffered enough. Without our knowledge and understanding of the events described in these reports and without our perspective this whole Inquiry is in danger of becoming a sham.

As we can see much ‘intelligence’ has been gathered by the secret state, many thousands of words have been written and reports filed. The language used in these files to describe the people and organisations infiltrated and spied on by the police betrays little understanding of the groups themselves. The lack of knowledge of political aims and an almost total lack of human empathy towards the individuals involved is very revealing of the motivations behind this surveillance.

More than one thousand groups, almost exclusively left wing, have been targeted over many decades. Agents acting on behalf of the Security Services have sought to deny the legitimacy of lawful democratic political groups, social and legal justice campaigns, trade unions and environmental groups for political purposes. The condemnation and branding of legitimate political activists as ‘subversives’, ‘dangerous extremists’, ’violent hooligans’ and ‘trouble makers’ which has been exposed in these reports provides justification and allows the suppression by the UK state of the ideas and dissenting voices of anyone who dares to question and challenge the status quo. The reports paint a picture of people unrecognisable from my own experience and knowing that some of these words were written by someone I trusted and cared about is deeply painful. Compassionate ,honest, and brave are the words that I would use to describe my friends and comrades .They are ordinary decent human beings -not thugs, not the ‘enemy within’- but principled, caring and idealistic people fighting for a better world.

In order for this Inquiry to come to any meaningful understanding of the issues and causes for which we fight, to examine the real nature of our organisations and campaigns , context and depth are needed. As well as shedding light on the particular events under investigation, informed voices also play a crucial role in helping to explore the historical, economic and political realities which have shaped and continue to shape the security responses in the UK .This whole sorry saga needs to be understood and framed as the logical expression of the actions of a state and security apparatus wedded to the interests of the ruling class. It’s not about the actions of numerous out of control ‘rogue cops’ but of policing directed from the highest level. The methods of surveillance and control employed by the state to protect the system enable and sanction undercover behaviour and need to be understood in this light.

To uncover the truth it’s essential that this inquiry proceeds in an open, collaborative way and it needs to be seen to be committed to this aim. I am sure there are many differences of opinion, beliefs and backgrounds represented in this process, but these differences must not impede or be a barrier to understanding.

Over the course of this Inquiry many stories will be told in good faith by people like myself unfamiliar with and in truth a little intimidated by these proceedings. Our stories need to be heard but most importantly they need to be listened to and acknowledged in a spirit of openness and with respect. Throughout history the voices of ordinary people have been silenced and gone unheard. This needs to change.

Since the discovery that I had been targeted and abused by Vince Miller I have thought long and hard about the past. The simplest way for me to begin to unknot the bewildering sense of injury that I feel and to help me navigate a way through this whole process is to tell my story and share it as it is.

Here is my story.

I come from a large working class family. During my childhood times were hard and we were poor. My parents own early experiences of poverty and the trauma of war politicised them. My father was a lifelong socialist and an active trade unionist. They were both anti racists and my father in particular was a committed anti fascist. My mother was born into a mining community where my grandfather worked down the pit and her family lived in a house owned by the Coal Board. My father was born into a family of painters and decorators. Both left school aged 14.

My maternal grandfather was trapped underground for 2 days after an accident at the coalface. Traumatised and unable to return to work he left the family home to seek work elsewhere. My grandmother and her 6 children were evicted and faced destitution. Leaving school, my mother went to work to help out initially as a char lady and later in a mill.

Days in the mill were long and safety and conditions were poor. My mum suffered an injury that left one of her fingers permanently damaged. Desperate to escape a life of drudgery she lied about her age and joined the Women’s Royal Army at the age of 16. While serving in the army she later met my dad. Her father died from pneumoconiosis caused by inhaling coal dust down the pit. He was in his 60s. At school my father won a scholarship but had been unable to accept his place due to lack of money. The loss of this opportunity and the need to contribute a wage to help his family meant a future of manual labour and hard graft for my dad. In the 20s and 30s this was the reality for the working class. There was no way out. The door was well and truly shut even for the children of returning soldiers, the ‘heroes of WW1’. My paternal grandfather was one of those heroes. He volunteered, was gassed at the battle of the Somme and eventually discharged from the army due to ill health. My memories of him are of a very poorly man who was housebound and could barely walk.

My father was at the protests at Olympia in 1934 and at Cable Street in 1936 where he joined thousands of East Enders who fought to stop Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists marching into a largely Jewish area to intimidate and attack the community. In 1937 at the age of 18 my dad was also one of several thousand British men and women who went to Spain as volunteers to fight alongside the International Brigades to support the Spanish Republic against the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. He was there when Franco, with Nazi help, carried out the aerial bombing attack that obliterated the Basque town of Guernica (later depicted by Picasso in his famous painting). He witnessed the bombing and the terrible injuries and deaths that it caused.

Back in the UK my father enlisted and joined the British Army. He saw the sympathy that many of the ruling class had for Mosley and feared that if Hitler wasn’t defeated, fascism would take root here. My father was an internationalist and a fighter for freedom. In 1940 he was evacuated from the beach at Dunkirk whilst under intense German bombardment.

After Dunkirk my dad was sent to India for 4 years and took part in the Burma campaign. He was present at the Battle of Kohima, one of the most horrific battles in history before he was invalided out with malaria, dysentery and what would now be diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Memories of Kohima haunted him for the rest of his life .He could not talk about the war and abhorred violence. I am proud of my father and of the part he played in defeating the forces of barbarism during WW2.

After leaving the army my father worked at Briggs Motor Body Company and later at Fords. He became a shop steward and trade union activist. He helped to set up a welfare fund for sick workers. When he later broke his back in an accident at work, he was unable to work for 2 years. He received no sick pay and the welfare payments became a lifeline for me, my parents and my 3 siblings, one of whom was seriously disabled. I was 5 years old at the time.

This is all now many years ago but Dave Smith’s poignant description of the impact of blacklisting on trade unionists in his opening statement caused me to remember how Peter Hamilton [2], an advisor to Edward Heath’s government in the 70s, had argued that militant shop stewards in industry should be jailed in much the same way as the police should apprehend a common thief. I wonder, would Hamilton have regarded my father, a man who had done so much to protect the people of this country, in this same light? Would my dad have also been seen as a ‘common thief’, a ‘subversive’ and a ‘dangerous extremist – a man who the ruling class regarded as the ‘enemy within’.

My parents and my family’s history have been hugely influential in shaping my own political views. I am really proud of their refusal to give up in spite of the difficulties and hardships they faced and their determination to fight back. Because of my background I understood from a very early age that capitalist exploitation and oppression were the direct causes of inequality, poverty, hunger and war. As I grew up I was aware that every advance for the working class was hard won and had been bitterly fought for.

History shows us that nothing has ever been granted from above. It is only through collective action and the struggles of workers themselves that their lives have ever improved. Awareness of the dangers to humanity posed by fascist and racist ideologies combined with a strong sense of injustice led me to become politically active in my early teens. Deeply affected by TV images of the devastating American assault on Vietnam I attended anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and joined the Young Communist League in1967 aged 13. I then joined the International Socialists (IS) which later became the SWP (the Socialist Workers Party) in 1968 when I was 14 or 15.

The SWP is a revolutionary party who believe that in order to create a world free from exploitation and racist colonial and imperial wars, total transformation of society is necessary. We wanted to create a society based upon human need not profit. A socialist society free from capitalist modes of production, ownership and control by a narrow ruling elite. We wanted to end the alienation and powerlessness felt by so many and create the egalitarian conditions which would allow for the flourishing of all. We believed that only the working class has the power to achieve such revolutionary change through struggle and self organisation. Our focus in the SWP was not on winning parliamentary seats but to help build the movement for revolutionary change in the workplace, in the unions, on estates and on the streets. We supported campaigns around specific issues such as cuts in public sector funding and services and wages and conditions in the workplace. Active in our trade unions we sought to raise consciousness of the politics underlying specific conflicts and worked tirelessly to expose the way that capitalism operated. I worked as a bus conductor for 5 years from 1977 and was an active member of the TGWU where I also sat on a regional women’s subcommittee.

My memories of those times involve attending and organising branch and public meetings and endless discussion and debate. We were open and welcoming and we certainly had nothing to hide. We sold the weekly Socialist Worker newspaper and leafleted on the High Street, on housing estates, on pickets and on demonstrations .Vince Miller first made contact with our branch at the regular Saturday paper sale at the top of Walthamstow Market.

Week after week we fly posted, supported pickets, collected money for strike funds and slowly forged relationships as we sought to build the movement. In other words we operated within the law in a perfectly peaceful and democratic fashion. We did not support violence and did not engage in criminal acts with the possible exception of flyposting which Vince Mille participated in enthusiastically. In my opinion posting on boarded up derelict shops is a pretty minor offence and covering racist graffiti should be seen as a community service. Vince Miller’s reports largely confirm these facts, so why in spite of our wholly legitimate activities was the SWP heavily targeted by the Security Services and infiltrated by the SDS? 17 spy cops were embedded in our party and yet in truth, the biggest threat to democracy in the UK at this time was not from the left but from the reinvigoration of fascism which once more began to emerge from the shadows and reveal its ugly face.

For those who remember the late 70s it was a dark and very frightening time. The parallels with the 1930s were stark. The first post war slump after a sustained period of rising wages and full employment proved fertile ground for the rise of the far right. A combination of housing shortages, stagnating wages and job losses meant that disillusioned and deprived urban communities in particular fell prey to the racist rhetoric and false patriotism of groups like the National Front (NF) – a Nazi group who paraded with the Union Jack but whose real allegiance was to the swastika.

Published images of Martin Webster and Colin Tyndall, [3] leaders of the NF, show them posing in fascist uniforms in front of pictures of Adolph Hitler. In public however, they campaigned on issues of immigration control and law and order, painting black people as muggers and criminals who should ‘Get back to their own country’ and characterising Asian communities as ‘unsanitary and riddled with disease’.

As unemployment continued to rise from 678,000 in 1975 to 2 million by March 1977 – the highest levels since the 1930s, far right parties sought to capitalise on this crisis for political gain. By May 1977 the combined electoral votes across the UK for far right parties stood at ¼ of a million. The NF boasted a growing membership of 20,000 and they launched a violent race war against black and Asian people. Between 1976 and 1981, 31 suspected racist murders were committed and dozens of racist attacks were carried out.

It was reported that on hearing of the murder of Gurdip Singh Chagger in June 1976, John Kingsley Read, an elected National Party councillor said “One down, one million to go.” [4]

With the fascist paper Spearhead openly spouting anti Semitism, holocaust denial and National Socialist ideology and expressing the view that Britain fought on the wrong side in WW2, [5] one has to ask…where was the monitoring of the far right by our security services? [6]

Fully understanding the danger posed by the far right, the left mobilised and campaigned against the NF and other fascist groups and challenged the vile hate they spewed. In response the fascists attacked the left with increasing violence, attacking paper sellers and committing arson against bookshops. In May 1978 a young Asian man, Altab Ali, was stabbed to death in Whitechapel. Race Today described the climate of spiralling racist attacks in the East End, ‘Already the beatings, the knifings, the kickings are on the increase. A few days ago a young Asian on his way home from work…almost had his ear severed from his head by a gang of white knife-wielding thugs. The life of another young Asian hangs in the balance after he was bludgeoned by racists who broke into his flat’. [7]

What was the police response to these acts of violent criminal behaviour perpetrated by the far right and spreading like a cancer across parts of the UK?

The Institute of Race Relations documented racist attitudes among the police in evidence given to the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedures under the title Police Against Black People. [8]

In 1976 Mustafa Siddiqui was stabbed in his Brick Lane butchers shop. The police apprehended his white assailant and released him without charge insisting that the case should be dropped for the sake of ‘community relations’ [9].

In April 1977 the 4 Virk brothers were attacked by a white gang and called the police who promptly arrested the brothers and released the gang. The Virks were charged with common assault and ABH and their assailants were used as the chief prosecution witnesses. [10]

HN354 has described Brick Lane Market as ‘heavily policed’ and the top of the Lane as being the site of a ‘territorial’ dispute between the SWP and the NF over who could get there first and occupy the spot to sell their respective papers. His equivalence of the SWP with the NF is telling. He talks of staying overnight to secure the pitch and was heavily involved. He heard the NF abuse and was aware of the threat.

Interestingly HN354 doesn’t report an incident which happened en route to Brick Lane when Derek Day a notorious and violent local fascist boarded the number 48 bus when he spotted an Asian SWP member sitting on the top deck travelling with a small group including me. The conductor immediately jumped off and ran to a nearby phone box and dialled 999. Day, who was built like the side of a house, came up stairs followed by 2 other thugs who he told to keep watch and make sure that none of us escaped. Shouting racist abuse and threats he walked menacingly down the aisle spitting on all of us. Challenging us to a fight he called us cowards saying that even on his own he could ‘take us all on’. It was only when a police siren was heard that the fascists ran downstairs and charged off .Vince Miller would have been told about this so where are the reports? Day was well known and had been filmed and shown on TV threatening newspaper reporters, so where are the reports about Day? Was he being monitored? If not, why not? It was known that many of the far right were hardened street fighters and UCOs report that the NF were arming themselves. Again what was done about that?

Whitechapel at that time was a densely populated area home to a poor largely Bengali immigrant community. Wave after wave of dispossessed and colonised people fleeing persecution, seeking safety and refuge have made the area their home for hundreds of years. Hard working, close knit and resourceful communities prospered and left the East End, making room for newcomers who too sought a better life.

Brick Lane itself couldn’t be a more potent symbol and a target for everything that fascists hate. The Bladebone Pub at the top of the Lane was a well known haunt of the NF. Every Sunday after the street market the fascists would get tanked up and on occasion rampage down the Lane attacking people and vandalising shops. I remember a woman and her daughter were attacked by a large German Shepherd dog which had been trained to bite on command by one of the fascists. The truth is that there was no ‘heavy policing’ except perhaps when the SWP was visible selling papers .To stay safe the community had to act in self defence .Patrols were set up to keep the area free from racist attacks particularly at night and after prayers. The left responded to calls from members of the community to help to protect Brick Lane .Our presence was welcomed by locals reassured that they had support and were not alone.

The question again is – where were the police? Why was it down to the left to protect our citizens?

Sympathy toward the NF and widely held racist views among the police was in evidence. Police report part of the speech given by John Tyndall at the NF march at the Battle of Lewisham describing his delivery as given in his ‘usual forceful manner’. [11] But why no recording of the end of his speech where says he would give the police authority to ‘sort the red mob out’ accompanied by chants of ‘if they’re red shoot them dead’? [12]

I recall one Saturday selling papers at Barking Station in the week following a violent sledge hammer attack on a young female SWP member by a fascist who broke her pelvis. We were moved across the road by the police to allow the NF to assemble. Jeering NF members watched as a tall man who had previously approached us in a friendly manner to buy a paper came up behind me and snatched my papers calling me a “red bitch’ and telling me to ‘fuck off’. He then walked over to the police who had witnessed his act and proceeded to laugh and joke with them. When I asked the police if they had seen what he’d done they smirked and told me to go home.

Who was this suspicious man? Was he NF? Why didn’t the police protect me?

Contrary to supposed advice to not get too close HN354 embedded himself deeply into the life of our branch for 3 years. Describing us as a ‘social and inclusive bunch’ he partied, went to gigs, socialised in peoples houses, got drunk, had sex and played guitar. He became treasurer, was on the social committee and in the Industrial group. While in the industrial group he sold papers outside factories and reported that some workers said that they would be victimised by their boss if they bought a paper. In light of our knowledge of blacklisting I have to ask were these bosses being influenced and if so by who? In his witness statement he says he considered methods of surveillance like phone tapping and using informers. He has stated that my house was effectively an SWP drop in centre – what better phone to tap – I wonder if it was? It would appear that some phones were definitely tapped. HN155 reports the transcript of a phone call between two people discussing their suspicions about him. How was this conversation recorded I’d like to know? As a policeman regardless of his undercover role, Vince Miller had ‘a duty of care’ to keep people safe. He states that at Lewisham he ‘pulled his group away from violence.’ This would imply he kept them safe and not that they were engaged in violence themselves.

Yet Vince Miller must have known that my house received a series of frightening phone calls where the word ‘UVF’ (short for Ulster Volunteer Force) was repeated over and over again by an unknown voice. And that shortly after my flat mate who was of Irish catholic descent was attacked by 2 NF skinheads on Upper Street in Islington who spotted his ANL and RAR badges, smashed him in the face with what my friend said looked like the butt of a gun and broke his nose.

Again where are the reports and what steps did HN354 take to keep us safe? Or was real criminal behaviour overlooked and ignored while the UCOs focussed on writing about meetings about William Morris and other such dangerous topics?

It’s painful to realise that while we all cared for Vince he cared so little for us.

In this boy’s fantasy world of cover names, legends and spying I wonder how far these officers really went. Was bugging also considered? After all they had plenty of opportunity and access to our homes – even bedrooms as ‘Vince the Vampire’ [13] can attest. What private things could have been overhead and perhaps shared for no reason other than for entertainment and amusement.

Without a photo I can’t remember HN155 ‘Phil Cooper” who replaced HN354, but friends of mine do. They describe him as looking like a scruffy down and out who seemed permanently stoned. It is stated that he was considered unstable by his handlers – but what if there was a sinister motive behind his behaviour? Contrary to his claims that this was essential behaviour in order to fit in, the SWP were really anti drugs. Was he providing the pretext for targeting and harassment by the drug squad to discredit and criminalise the SWP? Heavy penalties existed for possession of even the smallest amount of cannabis at that time. I remember visiting the flat of some student IS members in Ilford when I was 17 when it was raided by both plain clothed and uniformed police. One of the boys pointed out his room after being asked where he slept and an officer went alone into the room emerging about 20 seconds later holding a small bag of pills. Visibly distressed my friend denied all knowledge of the pills and complained that they had just been planted. Knowing him as I did I had no reason to doubt him. I was isolated, taken into the kitchen and subjected to an invasive strip search which a male officer watched through the open door. Only when I protested and started to cry was this door closed. I felt frightened and vulnerable and utterly humiliated.

Were these acts deliberate attempts to intimidate and scare us? It’s the lies and fabrications committed over the years by the spy cops and their handlers that I consider to be the real subversion being uncovered by this inquiry. It’s their behaviour that should be scrutinised not ours.

HN354 says he attended a planning meeting of the SWP in Lewisham on 12th August 77 the night before the march. He states that bricks were stockpiled at various locations along the planned NF route by the those present and that members of the SWP carried weapons to the march in bags. I was at the demo on the day and can state categorically that no one that I knew had weapons or would have done such a thing. It’s an easy assertion for HN354 to make – where is his evidence? Where are the names? Or should this be seen as an attempt to blacken the name of the SWP?

And where is the report of the arrest of his fellow SWP branch member at the demo the next day who gave absolutely no resistance when he was grabbed by 2 police officers and deliberately dragged into the NF ranks while the police shouted loudly that ‘you’re not with your friends now.’ This seems like an open invitation to the NF to put the boot in and attack. When later frog marched to a police van, my friend says that one of the officers seemed ok and was keen to go straight to the station to do the paperwork so he could get out of the chaos but the other officer was really pumped up and stated excitedly that he wanted to get back to the ‘ruck’ and ‘get stuck in’.

My friend had his arm twisted up his back and his elbow broken by this officer when he threw him into the back of the van. We had a fundraising social at our house to raise money for his fine when my friend, who had not hit anyone or thrown anything but just shouted, was convicted of threatening behavior. This event was attended by many including prominent members of the SWP such as John Deason and known about if not actually attended by Vince Miller. Again where is the report?

Nowhere. Because the real story is that while these UCOs were enjoying the perks of the job and attempting to destabilise the left, discrediting and possibly criminalising the SWP, they were not keeping anyone safe. They were not fulfilling their duty of care.

They were in reality undermining the efforts to fight fascism and combat racism by the only forces mobilising to protect communities and defeat those evils. The SWP’s role in this fight was endorsed by an article in the Jewish Chronicle and published in the Times on 15th August 77 no less!

Talking about the NF Philip Kleinman said :

‘When it marches through an area with a large immigrant population it’s purpose is the same as that of Mosley’s blackshirts – to stir up communal strife with hope of reaping an electoral advantage’ he said ‘Whatever their defects the Trotskyists have the right attitude to the National Front and should not be left alone to stop its provocations’. [14]

The Battle of Lewisham is now rightly considered a watershed moment like Cable Street in the fight against fascism in this country. Unable to control the streets, the NF went into decline and the event is now proudly remembered as the moment when the far right was again defeated. It is now commemorated by the local council and seen as a symbol of a community coming together to say YES to black and white unity and NO to the forces of hate.

It seems only right that my story should end by telling how it felt when I was first approached by the Inquiry and the emotional impact that these revelations of spying and deception have had.

Early one Saturday morning at the end of February 2020 I received an unexpected visit from a solicitor acting on behalf of the Undercover Policing Inquiry. My husband answered the door and was asked by a very serious, soberly dressed man if I lived at this address. Feeling slightly alarmed, I overheard my husband asking what it was about, and the man replied that it concerned a highly confidential matter that could only be disclosed to me and that he had a private letter which he needed to give to me. I joined my husband and told the man that “it’s ok, we’re married – we don’t have any secrets “ and that he could speak freely to both of us.

I felt (as I’m sure any person who is door-stepped early on a Saturday morning, and hand delivered an official looking letter would feel) a wave of anxiety and stress wash over me . What on earth was I about to be told? Was I about to be given some terrible and tragic news?

The solicitor asked me if I recognised the name ‘Vince Miller’ .I said ‘Yes’ and during the increasingly unreal conversation that followed I told him that Vince and I had a relationship many years ago when we were both members of the same SWP branch which ended when he unexpectedly left to go to America. The solicitor revealed the truth that the name ‘Vince Miller ‘ was in fact an alias used by an Undercover Police Officer who had infiltrated the SWP over 40 years ago. I received this news with a sense of shock mixed with disbelief – it felt hard to reconcile this revelation with my memories of the man I knew or to absorb the fact that he was a police spy.

I had always thought of Vince with fondness. My memory of him was of a lovely, attractive but emotionally vulnerable guy who because of his experience of heartbreak and fear of being hurt, found it difficult to maintain close relationships with women .I sometimes wondered what had happened to him after he had disappeared from my life and hoped that he had found happiness in his. At the time of my relationship with Vince Miller I was also very vulnerable having recently separated from my first husband who had become extremely abusive.

However I now know that the Vince Miller I thought I knew doesn’t actually exist. He is a wholly constructed fiction, a fake identity used as a tool for the purposes of political surveillance sanctioned by the state which infiltrated the most intimate parts of my body and my life. And at present I still don’t know his real name.

The initial revelation of the true identity of a man with whom I had enjoyed an intimate sexual relationship and shared thoughts and feelings of a deeply private nature left me feeling nauseous and revolted. I felt degraded and abused and continue to feel a real sense of violation. I feel that both my trust and my values have been betrayed by an agent of the state. That my lifelong and deeply held beliefs and convictions have been exploited and used against me in the most cynical and exploitative way for the purposes of surveillance.

After this first shocking disclosure I was uncertain that I wanted any further involvement with the UPI. I felt that it would inevitably be a whitewash with no satisfactory outcome for the victims of undercover spying. I was afraid that I or my family could be door stepped by the press or others and that I would be made to feel even more exposed and vulnerable by further intrusions into my privacy. But I was informed that during the course of Vince Miller’s deployment ‘intelligence’ had been gathered about me, my friends and other members of the organisation, and that documents existed which I could only see if I agreed to sign a restriction order that prevented me from sharing or discussing the contents of the documents with anyone. To me this feels totally wrong. It is an affront to my sensibilities as a person who has committed no crimes and has been the victim of this state sanctioned abuse of my human rights.

The knowledge that the state holds secret files on me filled me with anxiety and a sense of paranoia. I wanted to know – What is in those files? What information is held? What details of a personal nature do they contain? And how personal and intrusive are those details?

I would like to ask the chair, “How would you feel if you found yourself in this appalling situation?” My mind was certainly running riot. I was imagining all kinds of things and felt I needed to see those documents for my own peace of mind. I eventually received those files and opened them with shaking hands and a pounding heart. I’m usually fairly calm and collected but I admit to reading those files with great trepidation and anxiety.

Not knowing and imagining the worst is acutely distressing. It is wrong that other women victims of these crimes have so far been denied access to their files and to see what information their abusers have written about them. Many Category H women have now been waiting for many years. I think that is extremely cruel.

Memories of Vince Miller had until recently been a part of my very distant past. Memories which had been processed, assimilated and accepted as genuine. But now these memories have been shattered and the past has come crashing into my present in the vilest possible way.

What I had considered to be true is now revealed as false. Facts turn out to be lies and people are not who I thought they were. Vince Miller was not a like minded comrade and former lover fighting alongside me for socialism and struggling to create a better world – he was a state spy. The cognitive dissonance created by this whole experience makes me sometimes feel like I’m inhabiting a parallel universe, a shadow world populated by malevolent phantoms and spooks.

The files that I have seen contain information of a very intrusive and personal nature. They reveal detailed physical descriptions of myself and my flat mates and information about my employment, my wages, my address and the precise time, date and registry office location of my first marriage which happened prior to ‘Millers’ deployment but appears in a report written by him .How exactly did he get that information I wonder?

Were there other spies also watching me? I now know that Vince Miller has admitted to 4 sexual relationships during his deployment while undercover. He has admitted to his relationship with me but has disputed my version of events, which incidentally makes me all the more relieved that I came forward to stand up and be counted.

In my mind a very different image of ‘Vince’ is emerging from the one that I remember- an increasingly cold, calculating, sexist version of a man is being revealed ,very different from the man I knew or thought I knew. I find that extremely upsetting. Now the thought of hearing his real voice and seeing him give evidence is really unsettling. The implications of some of the disclosures made by Vince Miller are also deeply offensive and revelatory. Describing the night we first got together he has stated that I ‘unexpectedly invited him to my bedroom’ after we had both been drinking. What exactly is he trying to say? That I was drunk and looking for a random man to have sex with?’ This is a deliberately untrue misrepresentation of the events of that evening when hours earlier he had pulled me onto his lap at a party then chatted and flirted before taking me home and sleeping with me.

I have also discovered, to my horror, that MI5 have had files on me since 1970 when I was aged 16 more than 6 years before HN354s deployment. This is shameful. Most people would consider a 16 year old little more than a child and the Inquiry now knows that other children have been spied on too. I was very young when I first became politically active in left wing groups. We know the SDS was formed in 1968 and that extensive spying was happening at that time. I therefore wonder if I was spied on as early as 13 when I was a school girl.

Vince Miller was spying on me that much I know, but the questions I am left with are – when exactly did the authorities start spying on me and with what justification? What events in my life led to this intrusion? I can see in the files that I am the subject of something ‘redacted.’ What has been hidden from me? Who was spying on me then? What other spooks have I been exposed to? Am I still being spied on? If not, when did it stop? It is chilling and sinister. And I now wonder what other ‘fictions’ have been perpetrated against others I love, my family and friends, in the name of this spying on me by the state. I have had to consider what hidden impact this may have had on the course of my life and those of my family. Vince Miller has even reported on the pregnancy of a woman in our branch and the name her baby was to be given. This went straight to MI5. Was this unborn baby given a security service’s file? Was my child given a registry file too? What about my grandchildren? I find the possibility that this could happen frightening and totally disgusting.

In the weeks and months since February 2020 I have read the accounts of other Category H women and found them to be extraordinarily moving. I praise the courage and tenacity shown by them in pursuing the truth of what happened and exposing this whole sordid crime. This has been at a huge emotional cost to themselves. I also feel deep anger at the terrible revelations of psychological trauma and systematic abuse perpetrated by state agents which in many cases are totally off the scale of decent human behaviour. The depth of deceit and fraud revealed by this Inquiry has left me truly shocked. Considering that I am a pretty worldly woman in my 60s, that’s really saying something.

I find it outrageous and deeply offensive to realise that we have been treated as ‘targets’ regarded as ‘subversive and dangerous extremists’ and that relationships have been used as a tool for state surveillance via the invasion of our lives and bodies. Mere ‘collateral damage’ in the pursuit of what I feel is totally unjustified intelligence gathering. The very language used to describe us is both degrading and dehumanising and reveals real institutional misogyny and sexism and a total lack of empathy with law abiding citizens exercising their democratic rights. This, however, shouldn’t surprise me as I recall my father describing the scenes he witnessed at Olympia in the 30s of police cooperation with the Nazis, protecting them and standing by and watching them viciously beat their lawful opponents. Only last week the disturbing news emerged that a serving member of the Metropolitan Police had been prosecuted after it was revealed that he had been a member of National Action, an illegal fascist organisation, for the last 2 years. He was exposed by anti fascist monitors. Apparently he aroused no suspicion amongst his colleagues! Given all that’s come out I wonder how much has really changed and how much did Vince Miller contribute to the prevailing culture within the Metropolitan Police at that time and since. We know HN354 rose through the ranks.

Was he supervising other undercover officers despite what he did and probably with the full knowledge that others were doing it too? Did he encourage others to do the same?

We need to keep in mind that I have no criminal record and have never been arrested. I was a member of a legal organisation which was neither a banned group or a criminal enterprise. Nor were we engaged in terrorist acts or violence. We were involved in wholly legitimate activity. The knowledge that individuals participating in lawful democratic political activity could be spied on and end up with an MI5 file could act as a deterrent to their involvement. Spying essentially undermines our democracy.

This has also significantly impacted my husband. He is Jewish and his background is one of persecuted refugees whose experience of authoritarian regimes and the spying on, and intrusive state involvement in, the private lives of law-abiding citizens causes feelings of panic and fear. Over the last year he has felt anxiety about my involvement inn the Inquiry and has said that seeing me stressed has at times made him worried for my mental health. He also feels a lot of concern for both our safety and security. He is worried about any possible repercussions to us because of my involvement in this inquiry. He has also been politically involved and it has left him questioning whether he too has been victim of spying and if his life has been impacted by this or because of his relationship with me. The secrecy imposed by the restriction order has meant that I have been unable to share and discuss the contents of the files that have been made available to me even with my own husband. This has effectively shut off a degree of emotional support for us both.

I want to end with this request. I want all information surrounding these events in my life to be made available to me. And that any information held about me is subsequently destroyed and removed from archives. I want written proof of this because I believe that democracy is very fragile and increasingly so.

One of my greatest fears is that, should this country fall to some extreme non- democratic regime, the information held on me and others, all totally innocent of any crimes, could put us in extreme danger. That fear has been greatly heightened by these revelations of spying and information gathering perpetrated by the state over many years. History shows what happens to left wing political activists, trade unionists, social and justice campaigners – those labelled the ‘enemy within’ in those situations.

With regard to the way that the Undercover Officers are treated, I believe they should be given no leeway for their behaviour, and that any allowances made to them because of their position or role in society, will be exploited by them in order to cover themselves.

We must also remember that these officers have been highly trained in how to lie, manipulate and deceive.

I did not expect that consenting to participate (mainly with the aim of getting to the truth and making people accountable for their actions) would be so stressful and challenging. I am now dreading the upcoming hearing in which I will give oral evidence. I feel really nervous at the possibility of any cross-examination being combative and challenging, given that Vince Miller’s statement of the events differs significantly from my own vivid recollections. Nevertheless, I would again like to thank the Chair for inviting my participation in this inquiry. I hope that my contribution proves useful in helping him to uncover the truth.


[1] The Chair was of the view that HN354’s deployment was unremarkable despite him having admitted engaging “two fleeting sexual encounters with different female activists during his deployment before his marriage.” applications.pdf

[2] T.Bunyan , The Political Police in Britain (London: Quartet ,1977 ) p.267

[3] Dave Renton , When We Touched The Sky (New Clarion Press 2006) p.20

[4] Samaj In Babylon. (September 1976 ) p.9

[5] “What their papers say”, Searchlight (February, September 1977, June 1978 )

[6] MPS0728975/3, 0730099/2, 0728981

[7] Race Today ( April/ May 1977)

[8] Institute of Race Relations, Police Against Black People (London: IRR, 1979)

[9] F Wheen, ‘When self-defence is an offence’, New Statesman, ( 20 October 1978 )

[10] Ibid

[11] MPS- 0733367

[12] Camerawork, Half Moon Photography Workshop, (Special Issue, No.8 )

[13] UCPI034310

[14] Dave Renton, We Touched The Sky : The Times, (15 August 1977) p 70

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