VICTIMS of secret surveillance have spoken about their experiences as part of a push for police to fully co-operate with the Pitchford inquiry.
Actor and activist Ricky Tomlinson said at a panel talk organised by the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (Cops) on Monday night that he has been denied core participant status in the inquiry into undercover policing.
He recalled how he and his friend Des Warren were sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court in the 1970s to two and three years in prison respectively for their roles in a mass strike by construction workers.
Before his arrest, police had pressed him to testify against other pickets, threatening that he himself would face prosecution if he did not agree.
Another of the builders tried at Shrewsbury turned out to be a police informer called John Carpenter. He was given a suspended sentence. Mr Warren died in 2004 from Parkinson’s disease, believed to have been brought on by the repeated doses of the chemical cosh inflicted on him while in prison.
Another victim of covert surveillance bravely described her six-year relationship with a man who called himself Mark Stone, who was later unmasked as a undercover policeman.
Lisa Jones found out that her then partner’s real name was Mark Kennedy in 2010, when she discovered his passport in a glovebox. She also learnt that he had a wife and two children and was still living with them.
Ms Jones, whose true identity is protected by a court anonymity order, said a number of other women had suffered similar “tactical” abuse by the Metropolitan Police in its efforts to spy on political and environmental activists.
She described as “psychological torture” the experience of being abandoned by the men, who faked mental breakdowns as an “exit strategy” after the assignments ended.
Dwayne Brooks, a friend of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence and a main witness in the case, said the Met had bugged his meetings with his lawyer.
He denounced the Pitchford probe as a “fake inquiry” because the date for witness statements keeps on being pushed back and other apparent delaying tactics have also been used.
The investigation has been running for a year, but there is no end in sight so far.
Bindmans Solicitors partner Tamsin Allen also blamed delaying tactics by the Met for the inquiry having made little progress.