Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Man whose house was used as spy base in operation which scuppered airliner bomb plot sues London police for wrongful arrest

His main offence seems to be that he is not an infinitely patient Briton

A man who helped MI5 and police convict airline bomb plotters for conspiring to murder hundreds of people in an Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist attack, has described how his co-operation and its aftermath led to series of incidents which ruined his life.

Constantinos Alexandrou, 53, played a part in foiling the 2006 bomb plot, which was billed as comparable to the 9/11 tragedy, but claims he was later wrongfully arrested twice and falsely imprisoned.

He is now suing the Met for aggravated damages having suffered stress and related problems due to the police action.

MI5 handlers praised Mr Alexandrou for his part in the operation that stopped ten airliners, travelling form the UK to the USA and Canada, from being blown out of the skies by the terror cell.

Mr Alexandrou, of Walthamstow, told Central London County Court how he assisted the police and security services by giving over his home for surveillance, as it was immediately opposite the bomb factory being run by the al-Qaeda-inspired plotters.

But Cyprus-born Mr Alexandrou, who had no connection to the police before his involvement in foiling the trans-Atlantic bombings, said officers arrested him twice at the home they had taken over for the anti-terrorist operation.

He also told the court about a third run-in with armed police, when he feared he was going to be shot, after they stopped him while walking through a park and demanded to see identification.

His barrister Stephen Chippeck said: 'In the summer of 2006 one of the most dangerous conspiracies in the UK was taking place. A terrorist plot that entailed ten airliners travelling from the UK to the US and Canada was unfolding.

'This was the event that triggered all the airports everywhere into putting strict requirements into how much liquid people could carry onto aeroplanes.

'All agree in this court room that the security services in this country do an important role and nobody is looking to undermine the role they play.

'Two police officers from the anti-terrorist branch of Scotland Yard came round to his house and looked round his home.

'They needed his assistance as a matter of national security and if he could help they would be very grateful as there was a terrorist cell operating in the area and that their plans were very advanced.

'He told them that he loved his country and would help in any way that he could. They asked to borrow his home and he persuaded his partner of 25 years to assist.'

The court heard that his partner had not wanted to move out of the house and the strain led to their relationship breaking down.

Mr Alexandrou was first arrested while trying to get back into his home after the police operation against the al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists had been reported as a success. He was advised to stay at a hotel for another week, following the arrests, but his partner moved out.

After speaking to his solicitor he was advised to go back home, and checked with officers he would not be interfering with their work.

He was arrested by police as he tried to get in through a bathroom window after his partner had changed the locks. He claims he was forced to sign a caution after spending more than eight hours in a police station.

The court heard he had signed the Official Secrets Act and did not want to disclose his involvement with MI5. After several months the caution was deleted.

Following the first arrest Mr Alexandrou started sleeping rough under the bushes outside Wood Green police station, as he did not feel safe. His GP made arrangements for him to stay in a night shelter.

After seeking legal advice Mr Alexandrou made his second visit to his home with a locksmith to gain access on September 19, a few weeks after his first attempt to return to the flat. He was arrested when police called a couple of hours later

Mr Alexandrou this time consulted a lawyer at the police station and told the officers of his involvement with the security operation and was released from police custody in about half the time of his previous arrest.

The court heard that Mr Alexandrou's ex-partner's name was on the mortgage at the property, but he told the court that he had lived with her at the address for 15 years and had always paid his way.

The Metropolitan Police deny the claims of false imprisonment, wrongful arrest and Mr Alexandrou's claim for aggravated damages.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

No comments: