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
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 a disturbing topic to investigate. I tracked down and met the individuals intent on closing down Huntingdon Life Sciences. Later, I also followed their American network based in Pittsburgh and New York City, for the BBC.
Carlos the Jackal is back in the news today. He brought havoc throughout Europe and the Middle East during his heyday of terrorism in the 1970s. He was eventually tracked down and jailed by the French after a capture that involved a kidnapping straight out of Hollywood (drugged, rolled in a carpet and hauled onto a private jet bound for Paris). It was classic stuff that could have, yes a cliche – come straight from Frederick Forsyth himself, author of ‘The Day of the Jackal’ which Carlos supposedly had amongst belongings in London.
He was jailed in Paris’ main prison and I first came into his orbit after interviewing fugitive spy David Shayler who ended up in a cell next to Carlos. Shayler described him as being a bit of a Hannibal Lecter, ‘He was always whispering to me about Col. Gaddafi and Lockerbie because I’d worked on that case in MI5’ he told me.
My interest was piqued, I slowly read through the books, I interviewed one of my journalistic heroes David Yallop and I started putting feelers out amongst contacts in the French and British intelligence community. Eventually, these efforts paid off and a few months later, I travelled to Paris to interview his then lawyer – and later wife – Isabelle Coutant Peyre. She was a character straight out of a thriller also: a leather-trousered, cigar-smoking and husky voiced supporter of Left-wing politics who held court in an office that was as stylish as it was opulent. No, I couldn’t interview him – but he would give me answers to questions via her.
Bizarrely, there was a price for this exchange and she requested I provide Carlos with some cigars for his time, which she assured me she’d smuggle into prison for him.
The article below is the result of this strange experience. It includes some references to material she brought out of prison from Carlos for me – letters and other communiques he insisted I read. I was sweating bullets as I took these through French customs en-route home days later.
There’s a footnote to all this: months later a pal of mine – Emmy-award winning documentary director Ross Wilson – was filming in Cuba about Kennedy/Krushchev’s ‘Thirteen Days’ stand-off during the 1962 missile crisis. I called Ross on his cellphone when he was in Havana and asked him to buy me the best box of cigars he could lay his hands on. They were duly purchased, passed to me in Scotland and I immediately sent them to Coutant-Peyre.
Weeks afterwards Madame Coutant-Peyre called me late at night. I remember pulling my car over onto a grass verge on a lonely road near where I live in the remote Scottish Borders and taking the call and watching my breath in the deep-winter frosty air. She simply wanted to say she’d visited her husband in jail and he’d been very touched I’d kept my end of the bargain by mailing over the cigars.
“They were very fine…” she added. “Carlos just wanted me to tell you personally, that if you ever need anything from him, don’t hesitate to contact me… He regards you as trusted friend.”
I’m not sure what favour I might ever need from Carlos – but there it was – my new friend The Jackal.
Well, a deal is a deal after all and I always try to keep my word. Also, I’m not sure Carlos the Jackal is the kind of man you break an ‘arrangement’ with – especially one involving his wife, claims he was in on the original plans for 9/11 and cigars.
With Proposition 8 in the news (and in the bin…) I decided to post this in-depth article (from a full decade ago) which looked at the very FIRST law passed in the USA which allowed a Gay marriage to take place legally. It happened in the north-eastern state of Vermont and centred on a case called ‘Baker Vs Vermont’. It actually featured six plaintiffs – two gay men and two lesbian couples – and I managed to track down and interview all six of them in their homes. I attended the political committee meetings in the State capitol when went on until midnight. People queued around the block to give evidence. The plaintiffs were brave and interesting people. The state went out of its way to be open and thoughtful about their decision. And the people of Vermont displayed intelligence and toleration.
Apart from that, I mostly recall the unbelievable conditions. Everywhere I went was blanketed in deep snow. It was freezing and I often had to plough through 3-4 feet drifts to simply get to someone’s front door.
Oh and, in case you’re wondering, after researching this people and hearing all the arguments, I support Gay marriage 100%.
But I hope I present a balanced and even nuanced report here. Let me know what you think.
This was a case I investigated a few years ago now: I interviewed eyewitnesses; found new witnesses; uncovered an American whistleblower connected to the case; received documents from RAF whistleblowers; and most importantly, conducted extensive interviews with the families of the deceased pilots (Flt Lt Cook and Flt Lt Tapper – Left).
It’s a story I have monitored closely for years. So, I am cautiously pleased Lord Philip has been appointed to head up review into this dreadful crash which took 29 lives in 1994. I am not impressed that it’s going to be a ‘short’ review nor that it’ll happen in private. There’s a lot more to this crash than meets the eye. Here’s my investigation – which caused quite a legal fuss when it was published.
F. Ray Mouton was the first lawyer in the world to truly discover the depth and scale of child abuse inside the RC church when he was asked to defend the first abusing priest Fr Gilbert Gauthe.
The events which followed changed his life and altered the course of the Church’s history when Mouton, a professional to his fingertips – but also a human of rare intelligence and compassion – embarked upon a terrible journey into the dark heart of the Church, the issue of betrayel of trust by men who should have known better and his own religious and ethical inner-landscape.
Mouton rarely ever gives interviews so I was beyond-lucky when he agreed to speak to me. This article represents one of the few times he’s divulged the secrets he holds. In the aftermath of its publication in Scotland and the UK, I was literally bombarded by calls, emails and messages from around the world asking for contact details for this amazing former Louisiana-based lawyer. The demand from country after country for Mouton to appear on their media and speak about his extraordinary experiences was mind-blowing. He is, in my opinion, one of the most decent, courageous and possibly brilliant men I have met during my two-decades plus career in journalism.
I was recently allowed to read the manuscript of the novel Mouton has written that is drawn from his experiences and informed observations and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will hit the headlines, cause worldwide attention to come down upon the RC Church again and probably bring about a ‘perfect storm’ of such significance it would end up with two things: firstly a papal resignation; and secondly, the launch of a book which will become a best-seller and make Mouton a household name.
Read this article and begin to understand what it’s like to find yourself a pilgrim in an unholy land because I always thought that’s what Mouton was. For those of us who care about this dreadful issue, we are in a way lucky it was Mouton who was there at its beginning: he had the first word on the matter and I predict that one day he’ll also have the last word.