My colleagues at Scottish TV – Bob Tomlinson, David Scott, Paul Murricane and Ross Wilson – investigated a man named Tony Gecas in the 1990s who turned out to be a Nazi war criminal He failed to successfully sue the company and ended up living in old-age in Edinburgh still claiming he was innocent. I was curious why the War Crimes Act had never been used to prosecute him so I started investigating the old leads and some new ones: the answer I got was shocking. A few days after this article was published Gecas died – he was buried anonymously so the press couldn’t attend his service. Link to PDF here: GECAS
A relative of someone who was lost at sea on the Gaul fishing boat contacted me to ask if I’d consider investigating this. I started digging and found one of the weirdest tales I have ever come across. Then, out of the blue, I was called by a source who told the strange story of one of the dead men who had been spotted… alive. That’s when things really got interesting. Read the PDF here: GAUL MYSTERY
As a reward for completing a rather nasty investigation which almost involved me being both arrested and hauled off by some over-enthusiastic foreign intelligence services, the editor of Esquire magazine (the brilliant and visionary Peter Howarth) suggested I do an article on James Bond’s author Ian Fleming. I was delighted and envisioned myself meeting old spooks in London and eating lots of eggs (sort of like Sebastian Faulks when he wrote the excellent Devil May Care except shorter, without the blond curls/beard and flowing Byronic white shirts and, okay, writing ability too). Anyway, I was actually informed I was being sent to ‘Goldeneye’ which was the house in Jamaica where Fleming wrote his 14 Bond books. A week later I arrived in the sunshine, stretched out on the bed, and as U2′s Bono landed in a helicopter nearby (I am not kidding), I signed the visitor’s book below entries from Harrison Ford and Pierce Brosnan, I knew I’d arrived. Alas, I was only there for a few days but I did get to sit in the same chair as Fleming, eat outdoors at my private dining table as he did and, best of all, swim in the warm sea yards from his private beach which was mine for the stay. A week later, I was back in Scotland, travelling in my Jeep to remote Plockton and then onto Inverness to meet one of the men Bond was based on. It was good to be back, the Scottish Highlands never looked better, the ex-secret agent himself was amazing but oh, how I missed that damn Goldeneye… a feeling I used in the article. Read the PDF here: FLEMING BOND
The horrific murder of Northern Irish solicitor Pat Fnucane is one of the most appalling crimes from the Troubles. It is still disputed who killed him and who ordered the murder in front of his wife and young family. I travelled to Ireland to investigate it and speak exclusively to his son Michael who is also a solicitor. To date the crime remains unsolved and the calls for a full inquiry remain in political limbo. Read the full article here: FINUCANE
I researched this story when ETA was committing acts of atrocities in the Basque country on a regular basis. I had to jump through some security hoops before I made the necessary contacts. In the end I met a very brave academic who was under 24hr protection and was actually taking a risk even breaking cover to meet me at this particular time. It was one of the most edgy meetings in a public place I have ever participated in and the final act almost stopped my heart. Read the PDF here: ETA BASQUE TERRORISTS INVESTIGATION…
The story of the deaths at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey, UK is dreadful. It involved four young recruits all of whom died in strange and heavily disputed circumstances. It is a a controversy which still rages on. I uncovered some new facts, including the really odd issue of someone who stayed at the barracks whose behaviour unsettled even veterans. Link to PDF here: DEEPCUT DEATHS INVESTIGATION
This is one of those stories which is so shocking it literally defies description. Read it an make your own mind up. The good news is the rat who did the date rape featured in this story was later caught, charged and jailed. In that sense, it has a happy ending… of sorts. Click here for link to PDF: DATE RAPE
This was a deeply disturbing case involving a beautiful young professional woman from New York called Claudia Kirschhoch. I was particularly drawn to the case because I had been on a press trip the previous year and stayed in the same resort, met the same people and walked the same streets and beaches. I had great misgivings about my time spent there and I cut short the trip and refused to spend any more time in the Caribbean. Rarely a week goes by when I don’t think about Claudia and her lovely and kind parents who welcomed me into their home in New Jersey on a cold Christmas season day. Click here to read PDF: CLAUDIA KIRSCHHOCH DISAPPEARANCE
This was the first interview given in the UK (I am led to believe) by Ronald Fiddler aka Jamal Al Harith who hailed from Manchester, UK. He’d ended up, via a Pakistan and a subsequent, long and truly bizarre journey, inside Guantanamo Bay. He is featured in the new Wikileaks documents ‘The Guantanamo Files‘ and the specific document relating to his case can be located here.
My article appeared a full seven years (almost to the day) before the Wikileaks revelations and reading the two together makes for an interesting comparison in terms of comparing his version of events made to me in 2004 and the claims made in the US’ Department of Defense paperwork from 9th July 2003. Make your own mind up.
My meeting, interview and dealings with him were complicated to say the least. I found him to to be cagey, angry and at times, downright surly: equally, I met him a second time after this interview, but with a film crew from New York, and thought he’d mellowed into a more gentle and even amiable person. What was not in doubt what the damage that incarceration in Guantanamo Bay had done to his psyche.
Interestingly, the second time I met him, I was followed before, during and after my meetings. When I mentioned this to Jamal and his lawyer, they both told me matter-of-fact I was being trailed by MI6 (which, I hasten to add, was not remotely like an out-take of ‘The Bourne Identity’ or anything like that… more like two-blokes in a car constantly in my rear-view mirror, parked outside my hotel and circling the M6 service-station as I bought petrol… not scary as such, but certainly unsettling).
Thanks to the unassailable Herald magazine editor (the best it ever had) Kathleen Morgan for editing this, Paul Stuart for the great photos (in this and many other articles we’ve collaborated on – he’s one of the best of our generation), Craig Alexander for coordinating the powerful, iconic design and the subs (especially Simon Stuart – a genius with words and at cleaning up my dodgy prose) at The Herald for making this what it is. I was proud to have it as part of the winning British Press Awards supplement of the year submission which won in 2005 and even prouder to see this cover-story on the massive screen behind Kathleen as she accepted the award in the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London.
This is the appalling story of a mother wrongfully convicted of murdering her own children. This was based on erroneous scientific evidence which was later comprehensively rejected. I met her and her husband in their home in Cornwall. It was not an easy interview because I found a lovely couple who were completely traumatised by the terrible miscarriage of justice which they’d fallen victim to. I believe that they have since gone their separate ways – two other casualties of the British judicial system’s flawed handling of such cases.