INTERVIEW 2 ~ TAPE 2
Person interviewed: Michael John Smith
Place of interview: Paddington Green Police Station
Date of interview: 8th August 1992
Time commenced: 17:50 Time concluded: 18:17
Other persons present: Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod
Detective Sergeant Stephen John Beels
Richard Jefferies (Duty Solicitor)
Beels: This interview is being tape-recorded. I am Detective Sergeant Beels from Special Branch, New Scotland Yard. The other officer present is:
MacLeod: Iím Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod from Special Branch at New Scotland Yard.
Beels: And you are sir:
Smith: My name is Michael Smith of Kingston upon Thames.
Beels: And you are sir:
Jefferies: My name is Richard Jefferies, Duty Solicitor from Tuckers Solicitors.
Beels: We are in the Interview Room, No. 2 at Paddington Green Police Station. At the end of this interview Iíll give you a form explaining your rights of access to a copy of the tape. The date is 8th August and the time is now 5:50 pm. I must caution you Mr Smith, you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?
Smith: Yes I do.
Beels: Do you agree that the tapes were unsealed in your presence?
Smith: Yes I do.
Beels: You are entitled to free legal advice, and indeed you have your solicitor here present with you. Is that correct?
Smith: Thatís correct.
MacLeod: Mr Smith, you realise the reason you were brought here to this police station today? Itís already been fully explained to you?
Smith: No, it has not.
MacLeod: Well let me once again remind you. Youíve been brought to the police station, on suspicion of having committed an offence under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, in that you communicated classified intelligence to a hostile agency. Do you understand the gist of what I am saying?
Smith: I understand the gist of it. I donít understand the details or what this really means in practice.
MacLeod: Right, I would like to begin by talking about what you did today. Can you just explain to me what you did this morning, and just talk me through stage by stage.
Smith: Iím not sure I should answer that. Um, Iíve already discussed this with the other officers what happened this morning. All I will say is: I was going out to get a newspaper and, er, 2 police officers arrested me, and he said more or less what youíve said today. Thatís as much as I know of this event, or what you are talking about now.
MacLeod: Right. Letís just simplify matters. Can you just describe to me what you did from the time you got up this morning, to the time that you were actually detained by the police officers?
Smith: I made love to my wife this morning.
MacLeod: I donít think thatís ...
Smith: Well thatís more relevant to me than what youíre discussing now.
MacLeod: Can you tell me what happened after that?
Smith: I went out to get a newspaper.
MacLeod: Before you went out.
Smith: I donít understand?
MacLeod: Right, Ok. So you went out. Did you go directly to the newsagentís?
Smith: No, I walked round the block I think.
MacLeod: Can you describe to me the route you took?
Smith: No I canít. Not exactly.
MacLeod: Youíve lived in the area for many years.
Smith: Well, I was half asleep.
MacLeod: You must have known. You donít just wander round the area without knowing where youíre going.
Smith: I took a short walk, and I bought a newspaper. Thatís all.
MacLeod: What Iím asking you is just to describe to me the route that you took to the newsagentís? I mean, thatís not too much to ask.
Smith: Well I didnít take a direct route, if thatís what you mean.
MacLeod: Can you tell me what route you did take?
Smith: Well what has this got to do with this interview?
MacLeod: Well, itís got a lot to do with it. Would you please answer my question?
Smith: Iím not sure I should answer this, because I donít understand the question.
MacLeod: Iím trying to clarify what your movements were, from the time that you got up this morning, to the time that you were detained. Now, would you please tell me what route you took to the newsagentís?
Smith: I donít think I should make any comment, because I donít understand the basis of this question. It seems trivial to me.
MacLeod: Well it might sound trivial to you Mr Smith, but I suggest itís certainly not that to me, and I would like you just to tell me, unless youíve got something to hide.
Smith: Iíve got nothing to hide.
MacLeod: If you havenít, then will you please tell me what route you took to the newsagentís?
Smith: Is something supposed to have happened on the way to the newsagentís?
MacLeod: Iím not suggesting ...
Smith: Well I think you are. I think youíre suggesting that ...
MacLeod: Please donít digress from the point. Will you please tell me what route you took. I donít think this is too hard a question to answer. Weíre talking about this morning, from the time that you left your house. I want you to tell me what route you took. Now I donít think that is an unreasonable question.
Smith: I think Iíd better not comment on this.
Beels: Mr Smith, your house is on the corner, is it not, of Burton Road and Park Farm Road?
Smith: Thatís correct.
Beels: Now, when you came out of your front door, which direction would you have gone this morning?
Smith: Iím not going to comment on that.
MacLeod: What prompted you to leave your house this morning?
Smith: I wanted to go and get a newspaper. I think this is so trivial, I mean, I thought we were here to discuss some matters of security.
MacLeod: We are, and itís up to you to what extent youíre prepared to co-operate with us, but I donít think youíre being quite straight with us.
Smith: Well I want to co-operate fully, but Ö
MacLeod: Right, thatís it then.
Smith: The implications here, are that you are not giving me the information which you are obviously basing this on, and any answers I give are bound to be perhaps misconstrued later on.
MacLeod: The reason you have your solicitor here is to safeguard any misconstruction that might be put on anything that you say Ö (Smith intervenes)
Smith: Well, I think anything to do with my movements this morning, or matters that you have in your possession that I have no sight of, I think all this is possibly going to make it more difficult for me to explain myself later on. Iíd much rather you give me the evidence - we can discuss it.
MacLeod: Mr Smith, Iím going to ask you once again, please tell me - itís not too much of a hard question to answer - what route you went from your home ...
Smith: I wanted to co-operate with you this morning. You wouldnít talk to me. Now I think itís my turn to say: ďitís your turn to give me some information before I co-operate with youĒ. Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Listen, weíre leading this enquiry Mr Smith. Youíre here to help us. Youíre here as a private citizen to help police investigating.
Smith: Tell me how I can help you, and Iíll try.
MacLeod: Well, this is the very point Iím trying to make. I want you to tell me what route you took, from the time that you left your home this morning, to the time that you were detained by police.
Smith: Iím not prepared to discuss this matter any further.
MacLeod: Is there something that Ö (Smith intervenes)
Smith: Nothing happened.
MacLeod: Well, in that case Ö (Smith intervenes)
Smith: And if youíve been following my movements, you know nothing happened, because I was just walking. I didnít do anything. I didnít talk to anyone.
MacLeod: Well, in that case, thereís no reason why you shouldnít be prepared to tell us precisely what happened when you left home this morning. If you feel that nothingís been done, and you suggest weíve been watching you, then ...
Smith: But I think you have been watching me. I think, er Ö
MacLeod: Well, why donít you be candid, and tell us what you did this morning.
Smith: Well, if youíve been watching me, you should know. I mean, I would like to comment on matters which you have got me here for, not to as to where I buy my newspapers, or where I might go for a walk in the morning. I think this is of no consequence to me at all, or to you.
MacLeod: Well, I suggest this is highly relevant to the very point Iím trying to make, and some of the points Iím trying to establish. Now, do you feel that there is something in your behaviour this morning, thatís unreasonable for you to answer?
Smith: Unreasonable, in what way?
MacLeod: Well, Iím asking you. Iím asking you the question. For you to tell me.
Smith: No. I want you to tell me what you think was unreasonable, then I can answer it in a logical way.
MacLeod: Well, I donít think there was. I just want you to ...
Smith: Well, Ok. I went for a walk, and I bought a newspaper. I see no - thereís no other interest in what I did this morning, before these 2 people came in and picked me up off the street.
MacLeod: Right, Ok. Well, if youíre not going to tell me what route you took, can I just go back to the, er, to the point before you left the house. Weíve been talking to your wife, and weíve been receiving information from her. I canít imagine that she would be telling us lies.
Smith: No, I shouldnít think so.
MacLeod: No. Did you receive any telephone calls?
Smith: I received a telephone call.
MacLeod: From whom?
Smith: God knows. It was somebody who, er, I think it was a wrong number. A foreign guy, um, who I understand was, er, heíd mistaken me for somebody else. I just humoured him and put the phone down.
Smith: Is there any more?
MacLeod: I want you to think about that question again Mr Smith. I want you to reflect on it just for a minute Ö (Smith intervenes)
Smith: I donít need to reflect, thereís nothing.
MacLeod: Did you answer my question?
Smith: You donít have access to my phone, so how do you know if there was any calls anyway. My wife might have said there was a phone call; somebody asked for me, I spoke to, to some guy who Iíd never spoken to before. I must add that, and he was talking some mumbo jumbo and, I ...
MacLeod: Youíre a liar. You are a liar. Your wife has told us that you got a telephone call this morning from a man called George, at the Lab.
Smith: I told a cock and bull story, because I didnít know who the guy was, and I didnít want to upset her.
MacLeod: Why should a wrong number, a wrong ...
Smith: Because weíd just been making love. Actually, weíd been disturbed twice that morning. The postman knocked; she ran downstairs; she came back up again. I donít like being disturbed while Iím making love, and it was a bloody nuisance. Now, who this guy was, who called, Iíve no idea. I just humoured him and said, ďYeah George heís somebody I worked withĒ. Why should I lie to my wife about it, apart from just to keep it ... (MacLeod intervenes)
MacLeod: Well, I canít imagine, I canít imagine if it was a misdirected phone call, why you would wish to say to your wife, it was a George. Why could you not just have said it was a wrong number.
Smith: I donít know who George is.
MacLeod: This is what youíre telling me.
Smith: Well, if you want to make something of this point, then what, what is it about this phone call that upsets ...
MacLeod: Iím not going to leave this point.
Smith: Iím glad youíre not.
MacLeod: I want you to tell me frankly, and honestly, the nature of this call from this man George?
Smith: The nature of the call was, he was, um, I canít remember the exact words, er, something about, um ...
MacLeod: What did he say? Can you remember? Did you answer the telephone?
Smith: No, my wife answered the phone.
MacLeod: Right, Ok, she answered the telephone. What did the man say to your wife?
Smith: She didnít say, she just said itís somebody asking for me, I thought. Surely this isnít an important point.
MacLeod: If it was somebody asking for you, if it was somebody asking for you, how could that possibly be a misdirected phone call?
Smith: Maybe it was somebody who had got my name from the phone book, or something.
MacLeod: Come on. Come on. Stop messing about.
Smith: Why should I be messing about?
MacLeod: Youíre wasting our time.
Smith: Look, if you want to go on in this manner, then perhaps we should stop the interview here, but if you want to discuss the matters that you have got me here for, which I thought was far more important.
MacLeod: I think quite honestly, this is central to the very point of ...
Smith: How is it central, if somebody phones me up at home?
MacLeod: Well, Iím, Iím, Iím establishing quite clearly your dishonesty in this particular point. Firstly, you said that you received a misdirected phone call. Then you tell me that your wife answered the telephone to a man,
a foreign sounding, a foreign accented male who asked for you by name, and youíre telling me that that was a misdirected call.
Smith: Well I, I told my wife that perhaps he sounded German, I donít know who he was.
MacLeod: But youíve just told me, youíve just told me that he told Ö
Smith: Told you what?
MacLeod: Well, youíve just told me that the telephone call, that you received, was misdirected. It was a wrong number.
Smith: I thought it might have been.
MacLeod: Your wife has told us, that the telephone call was from a man named George.
Smith: Yeah, because I said to her ďOh, I think itís some guy I used to work with, at, um ...Ē
MacLeod: But he asked for you by name.
Smith: Well, I donít know how he got my number. How on earth could I be expected to know whoís on the other end of the line? Iíve never heard the guy from Adam, you know. How on earth do I know who this chap is, I mean Ö?
MacLeod: But did he or did he not ask for you by name?
Smith: I think he did, but I donít know, youíll have to speak to my wife, because I ....
MacLeod: Well we have spoken to your wife.
Smith: Well, what did she say? I donít know. Did she say that?
MacLeod: I just said a few moments ago. There was a telephone call from a man named, a man named George.
Smith: George, well so it was.
MacLeod: And that the caller asked for Michael Smith.
Smith: Thereís a load of, er, Smithís.
MacLeod: What Michael Smithís?
Smith: Thereís another one down the road where I live, actually.
MacLeod: Come on.
Smith: If heís still there. Yes there was. Because we had some friends, er, who tried to contact us in the past, who got this other guy down the road.
MacLeod: If youíve got nothing to hide Mr Smith.
Smith: Well, Iím not. Am I hiding anything? Iíve been advised not to comment on these matters, but youíre making such a, a big thing of trivia, that I thought I was here for something much more serious that I wouldnít have to comment
on. But if you want to trivialise the whole matter, then go ahead, but I want to get this sorted out. Iíve got nothing to hide, and the sooner you can sort it out the better.
MacLeod: When I asked you at the start of this interview, for an account of your movements, of what may have happened to you before you left the house this morning, you omitted to mention the telephone call.
Smith: Thatís got nothing to do with my movements. The call is ...
MacLeod: No, I asked you, what you did when you got up this morning. You omitted to mention it. I mean Ö
Smith: I didnít think it was important. Probably forgotten about it. I mean, it was a trivial call, and, er ...
MacLeod: But I come back to this point. If it was a trivial call ...
Smith: Who was this person? Do you know this guy George? I donít know him.
MacLeod: Thatís the point Iím asking you.
Smith: Well, if Ö
MacLeod: If he asked for you by name?
Smith: Iíve had people phone me up before at home, and asked for me by name, and itís been somebody else who theyíre after,
and this guy, because heís foreign, I mean, I just took it that the guyís an idiot, and got the wrong number, and I just humoured him. I mean, who else would, er, because Iíve had people on the phone before who keep ringing back, and they, they think, er Ö
Beels: They think what?
Smith: Well, you talk to somebody on the phone, and they get the impression that youíre, um, either the person they do want to talk to, or they donít believe you. I had a phone call at 3 oíclock in the morning.
MacLeod: Iím not interested.
Smith: No, no, no. This is very important.
MacLeod: Donít digress, stick to the point.
Smith: This is the point. Iím sorry, this is the point. I spoke to somebody on the phone at 3 oíclock in the morning, who was ringing from Yorkshire, who wanted to speak to somebody who wasnít there. Kept ringing back. I thought, ďsod thisĒ, Iím not going to put up with this. So I just, I humoured the guy, and he went away.
MacLeod: Stick to the point of the question being asked of you. I come back again to this telephone call, that you received this morning, which for some reason you chose to ignore, and yet your wife quite willingly volunteered the information in interview without any problem.
Smith: Well, she answered it. She probably remembered it better than I do. Iíve had a lot of things go wrong today for me.
MacLeod: Well, maybe so, but just answer the point. What was the telephone Ö What was the nature of the conversation between you and this man George?
Smith: I donít honestly remember all the details. I mean, it was something about, um, something about being urgent. He wanted to see somebody urgently or something. I donít know what that meant.
MacLeod: But if it was a wrong number, why would he enter into any conversation with you?
Smith: I donít know. He might have thought that I was the person he wanted to talk to. I, I Ö
MacLeod: Well, you were the person, because Ö
Smith: Was I?
MacLeod: he asked to speak to Michael Smith. So, what youíre telling Ö
Smith: Well, he, he said that because I am. Thatís my name; I said yes itís me. I didnít know who he was. Perhaps you know who he is, but I donít know. I say, Iíve never heard that, that, er, voice before. And that, that is the honest truth. I mean, why should I lie about that? Iíve never heard that man [George] before.
MacLeod: And your wife says that he introduced himself as George.
Smith: Yeah, George who? I donít, I donít know. I donít know the second name or anything.
MacLeod: I want you just to think for a minute on this telephone conversation, because Ö
Smith: Can we get a move on, to something else.
MacLeod: No, weíre not. We are not. I will dwell on this point as long as it takes. I want to know what the nature of that telephone call was this morning.
Smith: Iíve already told you what the nature of that call was.
MacLeod: Well, youíre lying. You are lying through your teeth.
Smith: Thank you very much.
MacLeod: I want you to think again.
Smith: So, what did my wife say, because she wasnít talking to this man. She couldnít say anything. What on earth are you basing this on? Did you get this guy George to phone me up? I think thatís what it must be. Because if you know what he said, and I donít even remember it, obviously youíre playing cat and mouse with me. Iím sorry, I donít want to be pedantic about this, but I thought I was here to discuss some serious breach of security, and youíre discussing a bloody phone call, which has got Ö you know, itís so trivial it seems ludicrous. See what Iím saying? No, you donít.
MacLeod: I can see what youíre saying, but you know, as well as I do, that thatís not the truth.
Smith: Well put the cards on the table. Who is this George then? Is he somebody I should know?
MacLeod: Heís somebody I would like you to talk to me about, because Iím sure Ö
Smith: I donít know George. If I knew George, Iíd tell you who the guy was. I mean, I donít know, I donít know where he lives, or anything about him.
MacLeod: So what did he say then, when, when he entered into this conversation?
Smith: It wasnít a conversation. It was just a yes, no, yes, no, sort of thing. I didnít discuss anything with him.
MacLeod: So what did he say then, if I can come back to that point? What did he say?
Smith: He said something about, something being urgent, but I couldnít quite understand, because his accent was so bad. Thatís all. Ö Come on, we donít want any silence in here. Weíre wasting tape. Iím sorry, I donít Ö I wanted to make a Ďno commentí type of interview, and you, youíre spoiling it.
MacLeod: Who is, who is Victor?
Smith: Victor? Iíve got, um, my friend. I have a Spanish friend, who has a son called Victor.
MacLeod: Do you know any other Victors?
Smith: I donít think so. Not, not at the present. I donít know maybe I knew some in the past.
MacLeod: Have you known any Victors in the past?
Smith: Victor. If I did, it was a very long time ago, because I donít remember any other Victors. Victorís not a common name. I donít think it is.
MacLeod: Iím putting it to you, that this telephone conversation this morning, that you had with this man George, concerned somebody called Victor, and Iím putting it to you, that you knew perfectly well who this Victor was, and I further suggest that that was the reason that you left your house this morning.
Smith: I think that is just hypothetical nonsense.
MacLeod: Itís not hypothetical.
Smith: Why are we picking up being so damn serious about this. Look, just discuss it.
MacLeod: I will prove evidentially ...
Smith: What is it youíre trying to say?
MacLeod: I will prove evidentially.
Smith: What, and what evidence are we talking about?
MacLeod: Thatís for you to wait and find out. I am telling Ö
Smith: I am trying to find the ways, can you please present it now.
MacLeod: Iím telling you, I have evidence.
Smith: Evidence of what sort?
MacLeod: Iím just Ö Thatís a matter for you to wait and see. I want you to tell me, in your own words, who this Victor is.
Smith: I cannot tell you who this Victor is, because I donít Ö I Ö the only Victor I know is the son of a friend of mine, and heís about 15 years old, and I can honestly say thereís no other Victor that I can remember for - perhaps since - at University; I might have known a Victor. I canít remember any other Victors.
MacLeod: Well, youíre a liar. I know that.
Smith: How often do you find somebody called Victor? You might hear about somebody.
MacLeod: No, itís not a common name. Thatís why I feel that thereís, you know Ö
Smith: Itís not a common name.
MacLeod: an easily recollectable name, and youíre telling me, you canít remember the name. Just you wait. Tell me.
Smith: Well, who is this Victor?
MacLeod: Thatís why Iím asking you. Iím asking you to tell me.
Smith: Well I canít answer you, if you give me no facts to go on. Because I donít know. Are we talking about 20 years ago? Or is it longer?
MacLeod: Are we?
Smith: I donít know.
MacLeod: But I want you to try to recollect, first of all, the nature of this telephone call this morning. I want you to tell me, once again, what was it all about?
Smith: I donít know what it was about, because the guy didnít make it clear. I mean, it was just, er, the meanderings of an idiot, I thought. I mean, the guy just waffled on about something, and I just said yes, no, yes, no, or something like that, and put the phone down. Well, I can answer the phone how I damn well please, itís my phone.
MacLeod: Of course you can, course you can, but what has not been clear from this interview is the reason why you chose, in the first instance, to ignore that you received a telephone call this morning, and secondly ...
Smith: I did not.
MacLeod: and secondly Ö
Smith: I want this on record. I did not ignore that point. You were the one who raised it.
Smith: Why should I discuss every phone ... I told you, on my way, I made love to my wife this morning, and isnít that more important to a man? Is it not?
MacLeod: Itís not a Ö itís not a subject I particularly feel that is relevant to this enquiry.
Smith: Well I think itís very important, because Iím a living person. Iím not a machine that answers questions like a robot. I did the things I felt like doing this morning, and I did them,
and I was prevented in doing anything further by these 2 guys, who picked me up for whatever reason, which you wonít give me.
MacLeod: Right. Letís go back to the telephone conversation.
Smith: What else can I tell you about?
MacLeod: What, what were you asked to do?
Smith: I wasnít asked to do anything.
MacLeod: Youíre a liar.
Smith: Am I?
MacLeod: You are, and Iíll prove it.
Smith: You can prove what you damn well please. I, I have no record of that phone call.
MacLeod: Answer, answer the question. What were you Ö what was the nature of the conversation, and what were you going to do when you left the house this morning?
Smith: When I left the house this morning, I was going to get a newspaper.
MacLeod: And for some reason, or other, you canít remember what route you took.
Smith: No. I said I wasnít going to discuss it, because I didnít know why you were asking that question.
MacLeod: Well, I mean, if you want Ö
Smith: If I knew why you were asking that question, I would tell you. Iíve got no, no reason to hide it.
MacLeod: But it seems to me, to be highly illogical.
Smith: No, itís very logical.
MacLeod: If you, if youíve got nothing Ö
Smith: If you, if you Ö Look, if you talk to people as much as I do, you realise how much logic you have to use in conversation to get what you want from them, and I donít believe that the way youíre asking these questions is getting to the truth. If you want me to respond in the way thatís going to give you something, and me something, out of this interview, then I presume you should ask the questions that, that make it logical for me to answer them. Youíre asking me questions without giving me the facts. Why should I, why should because Iím only here on a so-called serious charge, or whatever it might be.
MacLeod: Listen, you donít expect for one minute, that Iím going to put all my cards on the table at once.
Smith: Well donít, so I wonít do either. Listen, if you want to play the game this way Ö
MacLeod: Look, youíre the one Ö
Smith: weíll stay here all night.
MacLeod: Youíre the one, youíre the one thatís here to answer questions, concerning a very serious matter.
Smith: And you wonít tell me why.
MacLeod: Itís up to you, if you feel that ...
Smith: No, itís not up to me, itís up to you. Youíre the one controlling this interview.
MacLeod: You have an obligation to ...
Smith: Please, ask me the questions that will enable me to answer Ö
Smith: in the way you want.
MacLeod: Right, letís go back to the beginning again. Mr Smith, tell me what you did, from the time you got up this morning?
Smith: Every last detail?
Smith: Ok. Right. I got up. The wife said, er, she, she was hungry, or she was thirsty. She wanted a cup of coffee, right. So I got up, and I made a cup of coffee, and I made a bowl of cornflakes - the crunchy nut ones that I like - and we sat down, and we had some cornflakes, etc, and we made love. Now, I think thatís quite normal. I, Iím not ashamed of that. Then we, er, we were sitting there talking about things. I canít remember in detail what it was about. Honestly, I canít remember, because it was just what a wife and husband talk about when they wake up in the morning, and then the phone went. I donít know what time it was, about 10 to 9 or 5 to 9, something like that. I canít remember. I didnít look at the clock, but it was shortly before my wife was due to get up,
because she had to go to a back appointment. An osteopath. Right - the phone went - my wife answered the phone, and there was a conversation with somebody. She said, ďI think he wants to talk to youĒ, and then Iím not clear exactly what the guy said. It was some, some, I couldnít understand him entirely, because it was, er, Iím not sure if it was indistinct the way he was talking, but Iím sure I asked him to repeat something, but it was a bit of nonsense which I, I didnít understand the connection with me. But I humoured him, as I said before. Then, um, we started getting ready. My wife said she, um, we discussed something about my wifeís earlier schooling, the friend she had at school.
MacLeod: Can we go back to the telephone conversation. Can you tell me again what the nature of the conversation was? Your wife answered the telephone, she said ...
Smith: I donít know what the guy said to her, because youíll have to ask her that.
MacLeod: Yes weíve done that.
Smith: Yes, and all she told me was that somebody called George. I donít know George, I donít know. Actually, I thought there was a George I used to work with years ago. I canít remember another George though. Again, itís not somebody I know of - I donít know of somebody called George at the moment Ė and, er, I donít remember much about the call. I mean, she, she said ďI think he wants youĒ. I just discussed something with him, which was trivia as far as I can remember. Why, I remember something, something being very urgent. I thought
well, Ok, it might be urgent for him.
MacLeod: So youíre saying now, that he wanted to discuss something with you?
Smith: Well, I donít know, I donít remember the Ö how can I remember details of the conversation that I barely remember. Am I saying too much here. I mean, I think this guyís leading me up the garden path.
Beels: Weíre coming to the end of this tape.
Smith: You can change tapes.
Beels: Which Iím going to turn over now. The time is 6:17.
Person interviewed: Michael John Smith
Place of interview: Paddington Green Police Station
Date of interview: 8th August 1992
Time commenced: 18:19 Time concluded: 18:41
Other persons present: Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod
Detective Sergeant Stephen John Beels
Richard Jefferies (Duty Solicitor)
Beels: The time is 6:19. This is an interview between Detective Superintendent MacLeod and Mr Smith. Interview continues.
MacLeod: Mr Smith, if I can just go back to this, er, this point again Ö
Smith: What point, what point is that?
MacLeod: Concerning the telephone conversation this morning. Your wife received the telephone call.
Smith: The phone went. My wife picked it up.
Smith: I didnít say she received the call at all.
MacLeod: Well, if she picked it up, she received it. But she answered the telephone, and she said it was for you. Is that correct?
Smith: I think thatís what she said.
MacLeod: What else did she say?
Smith: I think she said, "I think itís a guy called George", or something.
MacLeod: Itís a guy called George. Did that immediately register with you?
Smith: No, it didnít.
MacLeod: Right, Ok. So you picked up the telephone, and you spoke to George.
Smith: Well, if thatís what his name is, I donít know if thatís what his name was. I canít Ö
MacLeod: A man introduced himself as George.
Smith: A man who said he was called George. Yes.
MacLeod: Right, Ok, Ok. What did George say to you?
Smith: I donít remember all the details, but he said something about Ö
MacLeod: Can we just, just. Iíd rather take just a minute to reflect on it.
Smith: Well, I canít give you details, because it was so - um, it was over in a flash - and I, I donít remember Ö
MacLeod: Right, Ok.
Smith: what was said exactly. All I can give you is the gist of the conversation.
MacLeod: Right, letís see if we can go just here.
Smith: All I remember, from the conversation, was that it was somebody - he sounded like he was in some sort of trouble.
He said, I, um, I canít remember what word I used before that he said. Urgent, or something like that. He sounded like he was in trouble. Could I meet him, or something like that, I donít know. I donít know what was said. I think that was all there was. I mean, I donít remember there being any, Ö
MacLeod: I think Ö
Smith: any sort of discussion about who George was, or ...
MacLeod: Well, maybe there was no discussion as to who George was, but did he make any reference to anything else, or anybody else?
Smith: Oh God. How do I, I donít, I donít remember him saying very much. It was, it was over in such a short time. I, I canít give you information that I canít remember. Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Right. I could understand if that was a fairly lengthy conversation, but ...
Smith: It wasnít a lengthy, lengthy ...
MacLeod: I could understand if you couldnít remember the detail. But, I mean, this was over in a flash, and you canít remember what ...
Smith: Well I, I was half asleep. I wasnít really interested in the, what the guy had to say. I mean, what other excuse can I give. I mean, if I could remember word for word, if I had a photographic memory - great - but I donít have that sort of memory. I can only give you the flavour of the conversation, which was, was something about this guy being in trouble. I donít know what trouble he was in, he didnít describe it.
MacLeod: Who was in trouble, George was in trouble?
Smith: George was in trouble, I think. Whoever George was.
MacLeod: Why should he ring you to say he was in trouble?
Smith: I donít Ö Because he got the wrong name, I guess. I donít know. What, what can I say to the guy. I was half asleep. Iíd just been making love to my wife. What do you expect me to say to him? I mean, I, Iím not going to have a very philosophical conversation with a guy when I really want to get back to my wife and her problems. She had a back appointment this morning. I hope she went there.
MacLeod: I will repeat once again. What was, what was said to you on the telephone by George?
Smith: Iíve described to you in as much detail as I can.
MacLeod: But you havenít.
Smith: If I could give you more detail I would, but I, Iím sorry I canít. I mean, Iím not avoiding the question, Iím not trying to, er, keep anything back. Iím just telling you what I remember of the conversation. It was so, um, it was so trivial and so, er, done so quickly, how can I possibly remember more than that? I told you, what Iíd said. I said yes, no, that sort of thing. I donít think I actually discussed anything with him.
MacLeod: I suggest you did.
Smith: Did I?
MacLeod: Well, he certainly made Ö
Smith: How do you know I discussed. I donít think I did discuss anything with him. How could you possibly know that, unless George was somebody that youíve asked to ring me up. I donít know. I, I presume this is all about the job for Ferranti, isnít it? Is it? Youíre trying me out, thatís what youíre doing, isnít it?
MacLeod: Tell me about the telephone conversation.
Smith: Is this Positive Vetting?
MacLeod: Weíll come back to that in just a moment.
MacLeod: Talk to me about your telephone conversation.
Smith: I had a telephone conversation with, er, a guy called George, who I donít know, and he discussed something with me, which, er, basically was about him being in trouble, or something being urgent, and I ... Thatís all I remember.
MacLeod: He, youíre right. Who was in trouble? Was George in trouble?
Smith: I think George was in trouble. I donít know why. I think he had Ö
MacLeod: Well, why did he want to discuss it with you?
Smith: Because Ö I donít know. I think perhaps, either somebody gave him the wrong number, or maybe, er, maybe he looked up in the book and got it wrong - I donít know. But I mean, if I knew George, Iíd tell you who he was. Iím quite serious about that. I, I do not know who George was. The only George I can remember is a George I knew 12 or 13 years ago, and it certainly wasnít him.
MacLeod: So George rang you this morning and said he was in trouble?
Smith: No, He didnít say he was in trouble. I said, I think he was in trouble. The way he Ö
Smith: he sounded.
MacLeod: What words did George use?
Smith: Well he sounded, you know, like these foreigners, a bit Ö
MacLeod: What words did he use?
Smith: I donít remember, but it was something about itís urgent. You know, something about Ö I donít, I think, I donít think he actually said trouble. I think thatís my word. I, I got the feeling he was in trouble, the way he was talking. Iím sorry, if I could say more than that I would, but what can I tell you?
MacLeod: I think you can say more than that, but your, your memory is quite convenient. When it suits yourself, you can remember.
Smith: I donít like being accused of being a liar. If youíll, if you think Iím lying then tell me what, what Iím not saying, and Iíll, Iíll put you right.
MacLeod: No, thatís what I want you to tell me. Iím giving you ...
Smith: Iíve told you. Look, this point. Can I Ö Look, this is ridiculous. I had a conversation with a man I donít know. I, I talked gibberish to him, like he talked gibberish to me, and we finished, and that was the end of it. Now, what on earth can I have in common with George. I donít even know who George is. I, I canít stop people ringing me up at home.
MacLeod: Right, Ok If we accept you donít know who George is ...
Smith: Thatís absolutely true. I mean, I do not know who George is.
MacLeod: Right, Ok, Ok.
Smith: If George is his real name. I donít know if it is.
MacLeod: So you didnít know who the caller was. Thatís what youíre saying to me.
Smith: Thatís absolutely it. Youíve got it in a nutshell.
MacLeod: But the caller did speak to you, and discuss with you ...
Smith: I donít think he discussed anything with me.
MacLeod: Or that he Ö
Smith: He made a few statements.
MacLeod: He made a, yes, he made a statement.
Smith: And I said yes, no, yes, no, as far as I know.
MacLeod: Well, how would, how would you make a statement saying yes, no, yes, no?
Smith: Because I was half asleep. Iíd been making love to my wife. I wasnít interested in talking to anybody.
MacLeod: You were half asleep, and you just tell me youíve made love to your wife. I mean, if youíve made love to your wife, and youíre half asleep ...
Smith: Well I was tired. I was tired and I Ö
MacLeod: Well I think youíre, youíre hedging, youíre hedging the issue here.
Smith: But what has that got, what has my personal relationships with my wife Ö
MacLeod: Iím not interested in that, but Iím just trying to ...
Smith: But itís very relevant to this discussion, because youíre talking about something that overlapped with love-making with my wife.
MacLeod: Iím Ö
Smith: I, I object to you making it sound like itís trivial, and I can just pick up the phone and talk to somebody as though Iím at the office on a Monday morning. Itís not like that, making love, if youíve ever made love yourself ...
MacLeod: The point Iím making, the point Iím making is that youíre telling me that you were so drowsy, so sleepy ...
Smith: I was sleepy.
MacLeod: That you didnít understand ...
Smith: You ask my wife what Iím like in the morning.
MacLeod: Iím not Ö
Smith: Sheíll tell you. She canít get me out of bed in the morning. Iím hardly Ö
MacLeod: And yet you entered into this conversation?
Smith: It wasnít a conversation, for fuckís sake. I keep telling you. The conversation, as far as it was, on my side, was yes, no or 3 bags full. I didnít have a conversation with this man. Now, if he phoned up for whatever reason, what can I, I canít stop him phoning me. Who is he? If you know who he is, tell me, but I have no clue who this man George is. Iím quite open about this. I, I do not know who George is.
MacLeod: Was the name Victor mentioned?
Smith: It might have been. I. I donít remember.
MacLeod: I suggest it was.
Smith: Well maybe it was. I, my wife couldnít have told you that, because she didnít talk to this man for, for more than a couple of minutes, couple of seconds. Well, who is Victor?
MacLeod: Youíre going to tell me that.
Smith: I do not know any Victors, apart from the son of a friend of mine. Do you want me to reiterate this.
Smith: The only Victor that I Ö I want this on tape. The only Victor that I know is a Spaniard, who is the son of a man called Antonio Lara Molina. He lives in Epsom, 20 Sefton Road. You can check with him. His son is named Victor, and weíre quite good friends.
MacLeod: And thatís the only Victor that you know, or have ever met?
Smith: Well I donít, I wouldnít like to say ever known. I mean, I would be an idiot to say I never knew a Victor in the past, wouldnít I?
MacLeod: But what I mean is, did you ever have, um, a friendship with a man called Victor?
Smith: A man. You talking about sexual relationships here?
MacLeod: Donít be facetious.
Smith: No, I donít have sex with men.
MacLeod: Donít be facetious.
Smith: Well, I think you are.
MacLeod: Answer, answer the question.
Smith: I had no relationship with anybody.
MacLeod: Were you an acquaintance? Were you an acquaintance of a man called Victor?
Smith: Victor who?
MacLeod: I want you to tell me.
Smith: I do not know any Victors. Look, Iím saying I donít know, I never knew a Victor in the past. I would be stupid to say a thing like that, but the only Victor that I know now, Iíve explained who that is.
MacLeod: You did explain that bit. Can we just keep to the, to the central question.
Smith: Ok. Well - Victors in the past - maybe I knew a Victor. I mean, I could, I canít remember 20 years back. Maybe there was somebody I knew at university was called Victor. Maybe I worked with somebody, or knew somebody ...
MacLeod: Well, listen.
Smith: I honestly canít remember a Victor.
MacLeod: Will you please keep to the point thatís been, the question that has been asked.
Smith: Well, this is the point. Youíre trying, you asked me about Victor, and I say I do not know a Victor, and if I did, well, why should I hold back and not tell you?
MacLeod: Because I suggest thatís the reason that you went out this morning, because this whole telephone conversation was about Victor.
Smith: Victor who?
MacLeod: We Ö Well, I want you to tell me.
Smith: If this man said Victor. I mean, I was humouring the guy anyway. You can ask my wife, I mean, the way I was talking was yes, no, yes, no, or something. I, I didnít know who the guy was. I mean,
I told you George means nothing to me. I mean, who is George? Is he one of your men? Is he?
MacLeod: Iíll ask, Iíll ask the questions.
Smith: Why do you not answer my questions?
MacLeod: I ask the questions here, Mr Smith.
Smith: Then get on with it.
MacLeod: Look me in the eye, and tell me who Victor is?
Smith: Victor who? Mention his second name - perhaps I might know him - but Victor on its own? I mean, I do not know anybody called Victor, except Victor Molina, a Spaniard. How can I answer this man in any better way. I do not know a Victor. Right.
MacLeod: I will demonstrate at some stage of this investigation, Mr Smith, quite clearly Ö
Smith: Get on with it.
MacLeod: Iím certainly not going to do that now. I will demonstrate that you do know a Victor.
Smith: Victor who?
MacLeod: And Iím giving you the opportunity to tell me.
Smith: Look, if, if you gave me a month of Sundays, I could not give you a Victor that I know, or give a second name even. I mean, I, I, weíre talking about Victor ... Where does he live? Whatís my relationship with this guy? I donít know. I mean, youíre, youíre talking very hypothetically.
MacLeod: Iím not talking hypothetically.
Smith: Yes you are.
MacLeod: Maybe to you, but not to me.
Smith: You are. Itís talking in riddles. I mean, if you were straight about this, youíd tell me who this guyís supposed to be, and whatís my relationship to him.
MacLeod: Why did you leave your house this morning?
Smith: To get a newspaper, I told you that.
MacLeod: Where did you buy the newspaper?
Smith: I bought it round at my local newsagentís
MacLeod: What road is that?
Smith: You, you know that, because I was picked up on the way back from there.
MacLeod: Where were you before that?
Smith: I was at home.
MacLeod: No, right. Letís go back to the beginning. You left home. What route did you take?
Smith: Do I have to answer all these questions? I, I donít know what this question of route is. Thereís something very sinister about this question, about which route I took.
MacLeod: Well Ö
Smith: I donít know what it is, but Iím not going to answer questions that might incriminate me, based on something which I donít have any, anything to go on. You are playing around here.
MacLeod: No, Iím not.
Smith: If Iím supposed to have met some guy called Victor, while I was out this morning, that, that obviously means something to you, doesnít it? Does it?
MacLeod: If you feel thereís something in Ö
Smith: I think youíre trying to make me say something that I donít understand.
MacLeod: Iíll ask the, Iíll ask the, Iíll ask the questions Mr Smith. Iíll ask the questions.
MacLeod: If you feel that there was something that might incriminate you, during that short time that you were out of your home this morning.
Smith: I was out walking and I, I donít remember anything happening on that walk.
MacLeod: Right, Ok.
Smith: So, if it did, itís something that you know about that I donít.
MacLeod: Ok. Letís talk about the walk then, from the home. Where did you go? What, did you turn left?
Smith: Iím not going to discuss that with you, until you get me some evidence.
MacLeod: But, but Iím certainly not going to tell you ...
Smith: If Iím supposed to have met some guy, who I say I donít know. Is that what youíre trying to make me say?
MacLeod: Iím, I want you to tell me.
Smith: I donít want to say anything that is wrong. If you want me to say something.
MacLeod: Iím not asking you to say anything other than Ö
Smith: But I think youíre asking me to say something. Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Iím not asking you to say anything other than the truth.
Smith: Iím glad this is on tape, because itíll show the way youíre trying to twist what Iím saying, into something you want me to say. Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Iím trying to. I clearly Ö
Smith: Well then Ö
MacLeod: Unambiguously Ö
Smith: Look, give me a straight question, not this dilly-dallying, will you, for fuckís sake. I want to get out of here. Now just tell me a, b, c, and weíll get it over with, because youíre wasting my time.
MacLeod: Well, if you want to satisfy that. If you say you want to get this over with. Right then ...
Smith: Then, ask me a sensible question, instead of talking about something that didnít happen.
MacLeod: So, I mean, whatís the difficulty in telling me the route that you took this morning?
Smith: Iíll, Iíll tell you the route.
Smith: If I can remember it exactly, but Iím not going to tell you until you tell me why you are asking that question.
MacLeod: And yet, er, Mr Smith Ö
Smith: Because I think youíre trying to say I did something on that route. that I didnít.
MacLeod: What Iím saying to you is Ö
Smith: I did not do anything on that route. If youíre trying to say I passed some information to somebody on that route, is that what youíre saying? Are you trying to say that Iím actually going out this morning to do something, er, against the Official Secrets Act? If youíre saying that Ö
MacLeod: I am not suggesting ...
Smith: I. I want to know what Iím supposed to have done when I was out.
MacLeod: Iím not suggesting anything. Iím not suggesting anything.
Smith: Well then.
MacLeod: I just feel itís rather convenient that you Ö
Smith: Itís not convenient at all.
MacLeod: That you can remember Ö
Smith: Iíve got nothing to hide about what I did this morning.
MacLeod: That you can remember in fine detail Ö
MacLeod: Down to the personal point of making love to your wife, and to what you discussed up to the point that you left your house, and yet youíre not prepared to answer my question on the route that you took, from your home to the point that you were arrested by the police. Now, I donít see Ö
Smith: But where did I go? I mean, I donít know what Iím supposed to have done when I was out.
Smith: If you told me what Iíd done, then we could talk about it, but I just walked; I didnít do anything while I was walking. I bought a newspaper. I came back, and was arrested, and I, thatís all that I think is significant. If the route I took had something to do with some - this guy called George, or something - if thatís what youíre suggesting? I donít know what it might be, because youíre obviously very interested in George, whoever this George is.
MacLeod: If you, if you, if you feel that youíve got nothing to hide, why can you not tell me these, answer the simple question of the route you took.
Smith: Iíve told you. Look, I want this on record. Iíve told you, at least 3 times, the reason I donít want to tell you my route. Iím not hiding it. The reason I donít want to tell you, at this time, is because youíve not told me what happened on that route, that you feel Iím, Iím under suspicion for. Why Iíve been called in today. Because obviously, you think something happened on that, my, my trip out today. My simple walk out to buy a newspaper has turned into something, which you feel has, has got some significance to you, but has no significance to me.
MacLeod: I suggest, Mr Smith, it wasnít just a simple walk to buy a newspaper. It was a Ö
Smith: What happened then on this route?
MacLeod: This is what I want you to tell me.
Smith: I want, no, I, absolutely nothing happened.
MacLeod: Iím giving you the opportunity to tell me Ö
Smith: Look, if I could tell you something happened, I, I would love to do that. I would love to say I, Iíd kicked a dog, or something, but nothing happened.
MacLeod: If nothing happened then, why can you not answer the simple question.
Smith: Because you, you are trying to make me say something, which I, I donít understand your reasons for, and Iím sorry, I need to have reasons, otherwise I canít make a comment. I donít comment on that question.
MacLeod: Iím not asking you to say anything thatís unreasonable.
Smith: Iím sure youíre not. Iím not being unreasonable.
MacLeod: But I think you are, because I can see no reason why you canít Ö
Smith: Look, you have me here to answer questions. Now, Iím trying to answer the questions to the best of my ability, without landing myself in something that I donít even understand. Now, put yourself in my position, would you want me to say Ö
MacLeod: Listen, Iím asking the questions here Mr Smith. I want you once again, to tell me the route that you took, from your home address to the point that you were arrested by police. If you feel thereís something that, that might incriminate you, then it is your right to remain silent. Of course it is.
Smith: Iíll, Iíll remain silent then, because until you give me the information I require, I cannot answer that question, Iím sorry.
MacLeod: So you feel that that question, er, places you in a position that might incriminate yourself?
Smith: No, no it does not. No it does not
MacLeod: Well, in that case answer the question.
Smith: It does not, but what Iím saying is youíre going to then use that information to say, maybe I was where I shouldnít be, and I, I, I donít know. I donít know what youíre going to say.
MacLeod: I want you to tell me. Iím not going to twist the, er, facts to suit myself.
Smith: No, I think you are.
MacLeod: I, I know, I know what the facts are. But I want you Ö
Smith: You do not know what the facts are, because, obviously, if you knew what the facts were you would give me the explanation that Iím asking for. What, what am I supposed to have done this morning. I mean, how can, how can I, Iím not going to say I did something that I didnít, if thatís what you think. Because, as far as Iím concerned, all I did was to walk and to buy a paper. I did nothing else. I didnít talk to anybody. I didnít have a conversation with anybody, and that is the truth. I mean, Iím not lying about that. Iím, I really am seriously saying, I did not communicate with anybody. I did not pass any information this morning to anybody. If thatís what you think I did, Iím sure ...
MacLeod: Iím not suggesting that at all. Iím merely asking Ö
Smith: Well, I think you are, and thatís why Iím not going to discuss my route, because I think you had a stooge there, who was waiting for me. That, that must be the answer. You think that Ö
MacLeod: A stooge waiting for you for what? For what purpose?
Smith: Why, why else, why else wonít you tell me why, why this route is important?
MacLeod: For what purpose would you give.
Smith: I donít know. I do not know.
MacLeod: I mean, it seems extraordinary. You go out in the morning to buy a newspaper, and you canít remember the journey you took from your home address to the newsagentís.
Smith: Iím not saying that I couldnít remember the journey. Iím saying Iím not telling you.
MacLeod: Oh yes, youíre conveniently forgetting it, or refusing to answer that?
Smith: I know, I know exactly the way I went. I will tell you in great detail probably, where I went.
MacLeod: Well, clearly I would expect you to.
Smith: But why should I? Why should I, when youíre not.
MacLeod: Because I want you Ö
Smith: Ö giving me the information that Iíve asked from you Ö
MacLeod: I want you to help us with our enquiries, to get to the bottom of this.
Smith: Ok. Well ask me some sensible questions that I can answer to help you.
MacLeod: Iím not going to get away from this central question.
Smith: Itís not a central point, Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Well it is to me.
Smith: And how is it central to you?
MacLeod: Thatís not a matter for you. I want you to answer my question. If itís not, if you feel itís a matter thatís going to incriminate you Ö?
Smith: Shall I answer this question? íCause this guy is, is, he wonít let me off this hook, this point. I donít know what heís getting at.
MacLeod: Iím sorry, I want, Iím going, Iím going, Iím going to have to dwell on this, because I feel the reason that youíre not coming up front with the, with the answer, is because you feel, at the back of your mind, youíve got something to hide.
Smith: But, what have I got to hide?
MacLeod: Well, I donít know. Thatís what Iím trying to establish. Otherwise you Ö
Smith: Iíve told you to the best of my ability.
MacLeod: You would answer the question, if you didnít feel it was going to put you in a difficult position.
Jefferies: My clientís asking me for advice on this point. Might I have a consultation with him about this point.
Smith: No I, if he wants me Ö
Jefferies: You heard him asking, indicate to me that he wants to speak to me about this matter.
Smith: I think, really, for some reason, this, this route I took may be important. I donít know.
Beels: Right, at this stage, Mr Smith has requested consultation with his solicitor, so Iím concluding this interview. Is there anything else you wish to add?
Beels: Clarify? At the end of this tape, er, interview, I will be asking you to sign the seal on the master tape. Will you do so?
Smith: I suppose I will.
Beels: I have here a form, explaining your rights of access to that tape. You may have had one already. Ok. Iím now turning off the machine. The time is 6:41.