The former girlfriend of an MI5 informant has launched a legal complaint and claim in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The BBC last week broadcast video footage of the man, who is alleged to have been a far-right extremist with a violent past when recruited by MI5, attacking his partner known as ‘Beth’ with a machete. The informant, known as X and whose identity is protected by a court order, posted material online in which he boasted of sexually exploiting girls, and expressed approval for a young girl’s rape and murder.
The BBC revealed that X had already horrifically abused another former partner before coming to the UK, which had resulted in the second woman (referred to as ‘Ruth’) being escorted a refuge for her safety, and a report being made to the police. Both ‘Beth’ and ‘Ruth’ have claimed that X had also made specific threats to them to sexually abuse and kill children.
The legal charity the Centre for Women’s Justice is acting for Beth in an action before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal over MI5’s recruitment and handling of X and are also looking into a claim against a police force who failed to take action against the man.
According to the CWJ, the Government has fought since January to ‘block’ the BBC’s evidence from being broadcast and last week the High Court prevented the broadcast of potentially identifying information about but allowed other factual information in its report. ‘To date, X has never faced trial in connection with his serious domestic violence, or in connection with potential terrorism offences for which he was at one time investigated,’ the group says. ‘As the BBC report revealed, a full statement was never taken from Beth in connection with the attack involving a machete, and the police failed to obtain or provide prosecutors with all the relevant evidence in connection with this incident. As a result, criminal proceedings against X were promptly dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.’
Beth has since made numerous further efforts to report X’s domestic violence to the police together with what she claims to be further evidence of his abuse. ‘Above all, I hope that this will cause the police to reopen the case against [X] and actually do something about his crimes, none of which have been properly investigated. I have fought tooth and nail over the last few years to get the police to take me seriously, but all for nothing,’ she told the BBC. ‘No one should have to experience the lack of empathy that the police have shown me.’
Kate Ellis, Beth’s solicitor at CWJ, said that Beth’s case raised ‘a number of issues regarding the state’s protection – whether intentionally, or through neglect – of those who hold extreme misogynistic views and pose a risk of serious violence towards women and girls’. The group’s director Harriet Wistrich, said: ‘Whilst the Government claims to be committed to tackling violence against women and girls, it is at the same time apparently complicit in a cover up of misogynist and violent activities of state agents. We have already seen the state bodies making all efforts in the Undercover Policing Inquiry to conceal officers’ identities and ensure that damning evidence is considered in private – so the Government’s attempts to shield X from scrutiny come as no surprise.’