Carlo Neri infiltrated progressive groups and betrayed innocent people. Now the disgraced Met undercover faces new claims over his conduct
AN UNDERCOVER copper sent to spy on trade unionists suggested activists fire-bomb a charity shop, the Morning Star can reveal today.
Rail union RMT and left-wing political groups were infiltrated by a man using the alias Carlo Neri (pictured) between 2001 and 2006. It is thought that he is still a serving policeman.
In June, the Star published photographs of Mr Neri attending a demonstration against the sacking of a rail worker. He also deceived three women into long-term sexual relationships — proposing to marry one of them.
But a new book alleges he went further, trying to persuade two anti-nazi campaigners to set fire to a charity shop that he said was owned by an Italian fascist. Solicitors have been instructed to file a complaint against him to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Activist Dan Gillman said Mr Neri pushed him and fellow campaigner Joe Batty to “fire-bomb a charity shop on Elgin Avenue which he said was a front for the fascist Bologna bomber.”
He was referring to Roberto Fiore, who fled to London after the 1980 rail station massacre that killed 85 people. Mr Fiore, now leader of the far-right Forza Nuova party, was cleared of planting the bomb but convicted of a subversive association and sentenced to nine years in jail.
The sentence eventually “timed out” under Italy’s statute of limitation laws.
Mr Neri is not the first officer to be accused of such an offence. Former Special Demonstration Squad chief Bob Lambert was named in Parliament as being party to the 1987 firebombing of a Debenhams store in Harrow.
Mr Lambert, who was embedded with the Animal Liberation Front at the time, is currently being investigated by the Met.
Mr Neri’s petrol-bombing plan was reportedly first touted at a New Year’s Eve party where he also proposed to his activist partner Andrea.
“Carlo was really keen,” Mr Gillman says in the book. “Looking back, I think he was trying to set us up, like the Animal Liberation Front got done by their undercover.”
Speaking to the Star yesterday, Mr Gillman, now a teacher, added: “It wasn’t something we’d ever do. We just weren’t up for it.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “It’s deeply worrying to learn that more than one undercover police officer stands accused of inciting the use of explosives, especially as we have to assume that none have been held to account for their actions and whatever actions they might have taken were sanctioned by their superiors.”
The revelations are published in a new edition of Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists, written by Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith and journalist Phil Chamberlain.
Mr Smith commented: “These are claims of serious misconduct by an undercover spy who remains to this day a senior serving police officer.
“We are calling on the Metropolitan Police to immediately suspend the officer pending a full disciplinary investigation into the allegations.”
At the time of his deployment Mr Neri claimed to be a locksmith and a member of general union GMB, according to the book.
The Met restated its position of not commenting on undercover work, but said it was co-operating fully with Judge Christopher Pitchford’s public inquiry into undercover policing and was investigating any allegations of misconduct in its own Operation Herne.
Mr Neri feigned suicidal tendencies when he left Andrea in 2004 after a two-year relationship. Andrea — who uses an alias to protect her identity — describes her treatment at the hands of Mr Neri and his handlers as “abusive, cold-hearted, psychological torture.”
She is now suing the Met and is a “core participant” in the Pitchford inquiry.
Mr Neri is not the only officer revealed to have spied on trade unions. Mark Jenner posed as a joiner and had his subs for the builders’ union Ucatt paid from the Special Branch bank account. And in 2014 a third officer and whistleblower, Peter Francis, revealed the force had targeted activists in the CWU, FBU, NUT and Unison.