Sunday, December 31, 2006

SADDAM: Last words of tyrant - SPECIAL REPORT

By Robert Kellaway

IT WAS the Mother of all Executions...for the Mother of all Tyrants.

Evil Saddam Hussein was justly consigned to the pit of hell — dangling from his own noose.

The butchering Iraqi despot was led mumbling and stumbling towards his doom in the same execution chamber where he eliminated THOUSANDS of political enemies.

REPORT: 300,000 innocents can now rest in peace

ANALYSIS: Col Tim Collins - This death will heal Iraq

REPORT: President Bush - Good Riddance

COMMENT: Fraser Nelson - Our Columnist looks to the future

Saddam, who ruled his nation through utter terror for 24 years, shuffled towards the hangman's rope muttering to himself: "Do not be afraid, do not be afraid."

Filmed scenes of the dictator's last moments were flashed around the world hours after the execution but stopped short of the actual drop to his death.

But late on Saturday chilling fresh footage — believed to have been filmed on a mobile phone — emerged on the internet showing Saddam plunging through the trapdoor and then swinging at the end of the rope.

The video, sent to the News of the World, is taken from the foot of a wrought iron staircase leading to the crudely-built scaffold.


Saddam is seen being led on to the death platform by hooded executioners. The waiting noose hangs from a pulley bolted to the gallows' rough concrete ceiling.

The dark room is lit by the flare of flashbulbs as onlookers photograph the gruesome spectacle.

There is a rising chant from the crowd as the grim scene unfolds, which we have had translated:

ONLOOKERS: "May God bless Prophet Mohammed and his family, and curse his enemy."

The chant changes...

ONLOOKERS: "Muktada! Muktada! Muktada!"

This refers to Muktada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric leader and a direct opponent of Saddam. It would have been a galling taunt to the dictator.

ANOTHER VOICE: "Go to hell!"

ONLOOKERS (still chanting): "Long live Mohammed Bakir al-Hakeem."

This is another Shia leader who was killed in a car bomb attack outside a mosque in Najaf in 2003.

SADDAM (With the rope around his neck, he twice repeats this phrase): "I too bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I too bear witness that Mohammed is his prophet."

By this time the dictator has been kept standing on the platform with the noose tight round his neck for 45 seconds before suddenly, mid-prayer, the trapdoor springs open and he plunges to his death.

ONLOOKERS (chanting): "May God bless prophet Mohammed and his family, and curse his enemy.

Again, the chant changes...

ONLOOKERS: "The tyrant is dead! May God curse him!"

Then there is a voice in the background from someone who appears to be one of those in charge.

OFFICER: "Leave him for three minutes. Everybody move to the back."

As the world shuddered with relief at his historic execution, a witness revealed: "We heard his neck snap instantly and we even saw blood on the rope."

Sami al-Askari, a prominent politician close to the Iraqi Prime Minister, added: "In fact, they left him hanging for 10 minutes before a doctor confirmed his death and they untied him and placed him in a white body bag."

Before the corpse was taken away, officials took DNA samples to convince sceptics that they'd rid the world of the right man. Another witness—who lost 26 family members to Saddam's regime—said: "Now he is in the garbage of history."

Jawad Abdul-Aziz, there as a representative of all the tyrant's victims, added: "When I saw the body in the coffin, I cried. I remembered my three brothers and my father who he had killed. I approached the body and told him, ‘This is the well-deserved punishment of every tyrant'".

Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told in astonishing detail how he stared into Saddam's eyes as the fallen dictator muttered reassurance to himself.

Mr al-Rubaie, one of a handful of witnesses, said: "He was very, very broken. He looked really, really weak. He looked at the gallows not believing what was going to happen. He kept on staring at me. I couldn't see any remorse in his look.

"They tied his hands at the back and it was a little bit tight so I instructed the guard to loosen it up. He was offered a hood but he said, ‘There is no need for that.'

Then the rope went around his neck, tightened, and the executioner started to read rituals from Koran.

"He went down in no time. It was so, so quick and totally painless. It was over in a second.

"We took the body and it was respected. We put him in plain white clothes and carried him to the ambulance and then to the helicopter."

Appeal court judge Munir Haddad, who also watched, said: "I witnessed the impact of the rope around his neck and it was a horrible sight."

He revealed that one of the guards had asked close to the end: "Why did you destroy Iraq?" But unrepentant Saddam replied: "I destroyed the invaders. I destroyed the enemies of Iraq and turned Iraq from poverty."

The execution took place at 3am British time Saturday — around dawn in Iraq — just 30 minutes after Saddam, 69, was released by US Forces into the hands of the Iraqis at the former military prison in Kadhamiya on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Earlier he had been woken in his permanently-lit whitewashed cell in the US Army's Camp Cropper in the city, where he had been held as HVD1 (High Value Detainee One) since he was sentenced to death earlier this year for the massacre of 148 Shia Muslims in 1982.

He was offered a traditional Arab breakfast of yoghurt, toast and tea or his favourite cereal Raisin Bran before being handcuffed and flown out by helicopter.

On arrival at the execution chamber he launched into an anti-West rant. Security adviser Mr al-Rubaie said: "He started his rhetoric of long live Islam, down with Persia, down with the West, down with this, down with that.

"He was shouting his head off. He was broken but he was trying to put up his old rhetoric."

Officials explained to him everything he had been convicted of. Then Saddam—wearing a black woollen overcoat, black trousers and white shirt all stitched by his personal Turkish tailor—was bundled upstairs to the gallows by SIX burly guards.

A black cloth was placed around his neck to stop the rope cutting his flesh. Saddam frowned as two hangmen helped him shuffle forward and positioned him in the centre of the right-hand trapdoor.

They placed the enormous noose over his head and around his neck. The eight-coil, five-inch wide hangman's knot was tied from hemp rope one and a quarter inches thick.


The hangman to Saddam's left held it in place with his right hand and twice pulled hard to tighten the noose. Another pulled the gallows lever sending him through the trapdoor. His neck broke instantly.

Around 15 official witnesses saw his body fall, blood clearly visible on his neck where the rope had sliced through, despite the black cloth.

The Iraqi government decided to act before dawn because of Eid, one of Islam's holiest days. It was important to finish the execution before the day began at sunrise.

Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and ex-judge Awad al-Bander also face hanging but their executions were delayed until after the week-long religious celebrations.

Ironically, the prison at Kadhamiya where the execution took place—now dubbed Camp Justice by the Americans—was the former hellhole HQ of Saddam's military intelligence.

He ordered thousands of his enemies to be tortured there and executed on the same gallows.

In effect, the vile tyrant, who threated the West with "the Mother of all Battles" in the first Gulf War, was hanged by his own rope that he used to slaughter so many.

Saddam's lawyers issued a statement of empty bravado. It said: "Saddam Hussein fell a martyr after he tried his judges before they convicted him. The martyr remained fearless, honest and clear-minded."

But the country he ruled with murderous brutality was last night finally able to plan for a future free of fear.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Secrets of 'Suffolk Strangler'

By Georgina Dickinson

(Additional reporting: CHRIS TATE)

THE HEARTBROKEN elderly mum of Steve Wright believes her confused son is LAPPING UP the notoriety of being a suspected serial killer.

Collapsing in tears, Patricia Wright, 67, revealed: "Steve is normally a bit withdrawn. I think now he is enjoying all the attention without realising the seriousness of it all.

"All of a sudden he is like a star. Everybody is talking about him and he's on the news. He doesn't understand how terrible this is."

But Patricia, who fled a violent marriage and moved to the United States when Wright was still a teenager, is convinced her son is innocent of the murders of five Ipswich prostitutes.

She said: "This is a serial killer, a monster. I don't think Steve is smart enough to be a serial killer and cover his tracks."

Patricia sobbed as she spoke exclusively to the News of the World at her home on America's East Coast hours after forklift driver Wright, 48, appeared in court charged with the Suffolk Strangler murders. She recalled how he:

- SUFFERED a troubled childhood at the hands of his disciplinarian father Conrad, an RAF corporal.

- HELD his breath until he passed out if he feared a smack from his strict dad.

- ENJOYED having a string of girlfriends that he aways treated like princesses.

- SAVED stray animals as a child and always looked after them.

- TURNED against her under his father's influence after the divorce.

- FELL out with her in a drunken, four-letter rage the last time they met.

Shattered Patricia told how she has been weeping ever since learning of her son's arrest.

She said: "My daughter Jeanette called and told me that they were questioning Steve for the five prostitutes that had been murdered. I said, ‘Oh my God'.

"Then I turned on the TV and there it was. I've been watching the news ever since. I have been crying for about three days. It's so unbelievable. I was worse when they actually charged him...then the floodgates really opened.

"Steve couldn't do anything like that. I don't believe he did it, but if he did, he needs help. It's not something a sane person does and he seemed pretty sane to me."

Retired veterinary nurse Patricia, who now lives with second husband Ron, added: "My heart and my prayers go out to the families of these young girls who did not deserve to die the way they did."

Patricia married Wright's father Conrad, an RAF corporal, soon after she got pregnant aged 16 in 1956. They had children David, now 49, Steve, 48, Tina, 47, and Jeanette, 45.

She says her second son was the apple of her eye. But he had a rough upbringing at the hands of his dad as they lived on RAF bases across the world before finally settling in Suffolk.

Patricia said: "Steve was shy — especially in a crowd — but he was such a love when he was a kid.

"He loved animals. One time in Singapore he and his brother brought home a snake. Then it was a turtle and then a puppy from the beach.

"I never saw any violence there. He definitely didn't have it in him when he was a little boy."

But her marriage to Conrad turned into a fiery one. She recalled: "As we went to Malta and then to Singapore the marriage became increasingly violent.

"Steve was withdrawn. He was afraid of his strict dad if I wasn't there. He would actually hold his breath and pass out if he thought his dad was going to smack him."

The family returned from the Far East and Patricia made the decision to get out. She intended to take the children too.

But when they arrived in Ipswich she says her husband grabbed their sons and told her: "You're not getting the boys."

Patricia was forced to abandon her children and move into a bedsit.

She said: "I went to the welfare people and tried to get my children back. But they wouldn't let me have them because I was living in one room.

"Conrad poisoned the children against me. He said I left them because I didn't care.

"I wrote a letter to him asking to be allowed to visit them but he wouldn't let me."

Patricia moved to the USA and didn't see any of her children again for more than 15 years.

But she was reunited with twice-married Wright when she visited him during Christmas 1992 at the pub he was running.

She recalled: "At first Steve was great. We talked a lot and we were fine. He lived above the pub on the outskirts of London and we stayed with him. He had a baby then.

"He had the prettiest hair still and he had a lovely smile. Then he changed completely before I went to the airport.

"When I got home he left this terrible message on my phone. He was drunk and I could hardly understand very much. It was F this and F that.

"If he could say those terrible things he obviously didn't want anything to do with me."

In another insight into her son's life, Patricia added: "Steve's had a rotten life but he doesn't go around killing people. I don't believe he would do that. He was never cruel.

"He didn't have any problems getting girlfriends. He always seemed very nice to them. But he never seemed able to stay with one woman."

Former QE2 steward Wright, who was arrested on Tuesday, is being held at London's Belmarsh prison in the same suite which once housed Soham murderer Ian Huntley.

He is accused of killing prostitutes Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Annette Nicholls, 29, and Paula Clennell, 24. whose naked bodies were found dumped on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Patricia is hoping to get a message to him in his cell. She sobbed: "I want to tell him I am here if he needs me.

"I'd tell him I don't believe he did what they are saying. I'm praying for him."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Strangler victim's client was top cop

MURDERED Paula Clennell is pointing the finger at a senior policeman punter from beyond the grave, the News of the World can reveal.

The officer — who works for a neighbouring constabulary — was a regular client to her AND one of the Suffolk Strangler's other victims.

Paula 24, volunteered the information to detectives shortly before her death when she was quizzed over two fellow hookers.

At the time Gemma Adams was dead and Tania Nichol was missing.

An insider told us: "The detectives asked Paula to list her clients. She told them that one of her regulars was a senior police officer with another force who she shared with one of the other girls.

"She revealed that she visited him at a house in Suffolk.

"Irrespective of what this man does for a living, this is now an active line of inquiry.

"He won't be treated any differently because of who he is. This is a murder investigation."

Paula was known to regularly pair up with other girls to entertain clients. Last night, Suffolk police refused to deny that they were actively investigating the officer.

A spokesman said: "We are interested in speaking to anyone who may have had contact with any of the victims."

And Det Chief Supt Stewart Gull, who is heading the investigation into the murder of the five Ipswich prostutes, told us: "Regardless of whether he's a police officer, I am not going to be drawn on a particular individual.

"We are looking at a number of interesting individuals and that's my line."

A spokesman for the force where the client is allegedly based said: "If there is a police officer who has had any contact with any of the victims it is their professional responsibilty to come forward and we would ask that they do so at their earliest opportunity."

Paula was filmed by a TV company on December 5 as she continued to walk the streets in the red light district of Ipswich even though the body of Gemma had already been found and Tania was missing. She told ITV Anglia: "I need the money. But I am a bit wary about getting into cars."

Our source said: "Paula clearly went with the killer knowing a murderer was on the loose so it is likely she was familiar with the punter."

It is possible that the girls — all addicts — were given drugs to render them powerless. Toxicology tests are being carried out on all five bodies.

Meanwhile detectives have released poignant CCTV footage of the last time vice girl Anneli Alderton, 24, was seen alive.

The grainy 1 min 59 seconds video was taken on a train at approximately 6pm between Harwich and Colchester on December 3 and there were no sightings of her after that.

Seven days later her body was found in woods at Nacton near Ipswich — the third to be discovered. She was three months pregnant. Det Ch Supt Gull said: "We need to piece together Anneli's movements after this. At what stage did Anneli get off the train? And where did she go after that? If anyone saw Anneli after Sunday December 3 we want to hear from them."

Almost childlike, Anneli looks excited as her train nears a station. Seemingly alone she uses the dark windows as mirrors and preens and poses as if getting ready for a night out.

She is dressed in blue jeans, a black zipped anorak with fur-lined hood and grey top. She carries a nylon tie-up bag. Unaware of the camera, she delves into the bag and pulls out a tatty Aldi carrier, from which she grabs a can of hairspray and brush.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

DIANA EXCLUSIVE: Final verdict of crash probe


Exclusive by Ryan Sabey

THE MAJOR probe into the death of Princess Diana will DESTROY once and for all the myths and conspiracy theories about the crash, the News of the World can reveal.

A £2million, two-year inquiry led by former Met Police Commissioner Lord Stevens, below, will deliver its findings on Thursday.

We can exclusively divulge that the bombshell dossier will conclude that new blood tests show that the Princess was NOT PREGNANT.

She was NOT ENGAGED to boyfriend Dodi Fayed. There was NO ASSASSINATION plot and NO COVER-UP afterwards.

The car was NOT SABOTAGED —it was in perfect working order.

And a mystery white Fiat didn't cause the crash . . . driver Henri Paul was three times over the drink limit and going TOO FAST.

Codenamed Operation Paget, the crack investigation team interviewed 400 witnesses and friends, examined 20,000 official documents, and conducted new forensic tests.

The report contradicts many claims made by Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed after Diana and his son Dodi were killed when their chauffeur-driven Mercedes crashed in the Pont l'Alma tunnel, Paris, in August 1997.

It will be examined by Royal coroner Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss before she starts formal inquests in the New Year.

One theory, that the Di and Dodi were engaged, was proven to be untrue after investigators examined footage of interviews given by friends and family of Dodi to US TV journalist Daphne Barak.


THE THEORY: Al Fayed claims a nurse passed on Diana's so-called "last words" to him at the Paris hospital. She allegedly said: "I would like all my possessions in Dodi's apartment to be given to my sister Sarah. And please tell her to take care of my boys."

THE FACTS: Investigators have probed staff lists and duty rosters but the mystery nurse has never been found. During extensive interviews with the News of the World last year, Al Fayed's bodyguard Kez Wingfield rubbished his story. Our findings were crucial to the inquiry.

Kez accompanied Al Fayed to La Petie-Salpetriere Hospital in the early hours of that Sunday morning. He said: "The boss NEVER set foot inside the hospital and DIDN'T talk to any nurses.

And a hospital spokesman said: "The Princess was unconscious on arrival and then she had a heart attack. She was not capable of speech in her last hours."

THE VERDICT: NO last words.


THE THEORY: Al Fayed claimed Di and Dodi had told him she was four or five weeks pregnant just before the crash.

THE FACTS: Embalming fluid used on Diana's body could have given a false positive in any pregnancy test. But fresh forensic tests carried out on tiny droplets of her blood taken from the car back seat were found NOT to have the hormone level of a pregnant woman.

New techniques used by the enquiry team on tissue and blood samples confirmed this. And close friend Rosa Monckton confirmed that Di's period had started around 10 days before the crash, making it impossible for her to be expecting.

THE VERDICT: She was NOT pregnant.


THE THEORY: Diana was killed by MI6 because Prince Phillip didn't want the mother of our future king marrying a Muslim.

THE FACTS: Two secret servicemen supposed to have been involved were interviewed by the inquiry. They were never in Paris. MI5 and MI6 opened up their files and no plot was found.

Any killers would have had to know Diana's plans in detail. But the car and driver were only called up at the last minute to trick paparazzi. The route was random and the car was not sabotaged.

THE VERDICT: There was NO plot.


THE THEORY: Mysterious white Fiat Uno made her car crash.

THE FACTS: French police never traced the car despite searching a database of 112,000 Fiats. It was alleged Di's Mercedes hit it before it crashed into the wall of the Alma tunnel. White paint was found on the wreckage but its origin has never been traced.

A French cameraman who drove a white Fiat Uno denied being in the tunnel that night. His body was found in a burnt-out car in 2000 amid speculation he was murdered. But investigators concluded the crash simply happened because the Merc was going too fast.

THE VERDICT: Fiat didn't cause smash.


THE THEORY: Chauffeur Henri Paul was a French spy in on the assassination plot. Blood samples were tampered with to brand him a drunk driver as part of a cover-up.

THE FACTS: Paul WAS a sleeper for French Intelligence but that had nothing to do with it. The inquiry took new samples for testing and checked them with the DNA of his parents. They concluded the original tests were not faked. Paul was "as drunk as a pig" on a combination of booze and tranqillisers.

THE VERDICT: Driver WAS drunk.


THE THEORY: Al Fayed claims Dodi bought Di a ring and they were engaged.

THE FACTS: Investigators pieced together a minute-by-minute account of Diana and Dodi's final hours. They have spoken to close friends of the couple and studied hours of footage of interviews by US TV journalist Daphne Barak.

She interviewed several pals of the playboy who said he'd he made no mention of an engagement. A step-uncle who spoke to him on the fateful night revealed he told him he was only THINKING of proposing.

In one of her last conversations with best friend Rosa Monckton, Diana dismissed talk of an engagement. And a Monte Carlo jeweller who claimed they had chosen a £230,000 emerald ring has since changed his recollection of events.

THE VERDICT: She was NOT engaged.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


By Nadia Cohen

I'M A Celebrity jungle babe Myleene Klass has confessed how she was bursting to bed her hunky lover the moment she got out.

She peeled off her grimy shorts and T-shirt to remind breathless fiancé Graham Quinn exactly what he's been missing for the past three weeks.

Talking for the first time of their amazing sex life, TV's loved-up Queen of the Jungle exclusively told the News of the World: "Graham's an incredibly gorgeous man—of course I couldn't wait to get back in his arms.

"It was the longest we've ever been apart, and the longest we've ever gone without making love. After all the bruises and cockroaches it was wonderful to feel his arms around me again."

Relaxing in their plush five-star hotel suite, the former Hear'Say beauty giggled as she recalled romantic highlights of their six hot years together: "We're pretty adventurous sometimes—we've done it on a piano and I know all the practice rooms at my old music school intimately.

"I can safely say they were not only used for practising classical music!

"Graham loves my body and he adores it when I dress up for him in stockings, suspenders and stilettos.

"I really enjoy that but I'd only do it for him. If everyone saw it, it wouldn't be ours."

Myleene—who was just pipped for first place in the show by new King of the Jungle, Busted star Matt Willis—revealed how she secretly pined for Graham as she battled for votes in the steamy rainforest.

She said: "I missed having my best friend in there to cuddle up to at night, to lay my head on his chest and have that pillow talk."


Myleene Klass opened her heart for the first time about the shameful past of her fiancĂ© Graham Quinn—a convicted heroin dealer.

I'm A Celebrity runner-up Myleene, 28, insisted Quinn—who she lovingly calls ‘Gray'—is a reformed character and she is determined to stick by him.

But she confessed: "I knew all about what he'd done right from the start, but I never judged him.

"I'd have to be perfect myself, like Mother Teresa, to pass judgment on somebody like that."


Pusher Graham was arrested in 1996 with more than £1,000 of heroin but jumped bail and spent six years on the run, changing his name from Smith to avoid capture.

He was on the Interpol wanted list when he met Myleene six years ago as a bodyguard for her band Hear'Say.

He immediately confessed his past to her, but it wasn't until his picture was recognised in a news-paper that Myleene encouraged him to give himself up and face the music.

He was expecting a harsh punishment, but escaped with a £1,500 fine and an 18-month suspended prison sentence after pledging he had turned his back on crime.

Myleene admitted: "Gray's not proud of what he did. But now he's a changed man and he has done good work with a lot of kids. I've seen him put his hand in his pocket and take needy children to hostels.

"He genuinely had a problem back then, he took drugs, but he's paid the price.

"I never felt trapped or duped because he'd been honest from the start.

"I stood by him and he's stood by me in some very dark times. People say ‘In sickness and in health' and those words, they mean something to me.

"Because of what Gray's been through he's wise and not so quick to judge, and I like that. When I went into the jungle he said ‘Make sure you'rebloody perfect before you criticise.'

"And that's why I got along with everyone. Gray would never do what he did again, he wouldn't dare. I know he wouldn't."

Myleene revealed she now plans to marry in the New Year and start a family.

And she said the close bond she feels with Graham even worked in the jungle. "There were times during my 19 days in there that I honestly felt like he was in there with me," she said.

That feeling was especially strong when Myleene found herself alone—like she was in those sensational shower scenes in a skimpy bikini that drove millions of TV fans wild!

Glimpses of water splashing over those killer curves sent temperatures soaring in wintry Britain. But modest Myleene had no idea she was putting on such a show. "I find it hilarious," she laughed. "I can't imagine people found that interesting. I'd no idea everyone was going on about the white bikini. All I could think about under the shower were the bruises and cockroaches all over me, and how cold it was!"

Myleene, dubbed I'm A Celebrity Queen of the Jungle after becoming the final girl left in there, developed a special routine to spare her blushes from the hidden cameras.

"I did this whole song and dance changing into my bikini in the dunny, then coming out and putting my shorts and hat on," she said.

"I'd wear it all down to the waterfall then leave my clothes by the side so that as soon as I was out I could throw them back on.


"Just like every woman I don't like my own figure. If it's a photo you can seem perfect, but in real life I know what's going on out there.

"I only went for showers in the afternoon when nobody was around.

"But you don't realise there are cameras and cameramen everywhere until you hear a tree cough!

"The camera guys gave me a round of applause when I came out. I said, ‘Is that for the singing?' But they just winked and said, ‘You'll see!' I had no idea!

"I'm like every other girl. I have conversations about stretch marks and cellulite. I hate my bum and thighs, who doesn't?

"All girls have those wobbly bits. And I genuinely love my food. I lost a stone in the jungle but I've had two burgers already so I'm going to stick that straight back on and love every minute of it.

"My fella Gray will say I look amazing but he's my fella. He has to say that. Or he won't get fed!"

Sunday, November 26, 2006


POISONER NAMED: Sushi assassin outed as Ruski vet

Exclusive by James Weatherup

THE ruthless assassin at the centre of the Litvinenko poison murder is a highly-trained veteran of Russia's deadly Spetsnaz special forces.

The News of the World knows the killer's full identity but for legal reasons we are just using his middle name Igor.

The 46-year-old expert in covert operations was dramatically fingered in a bombshell document passed to former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko at London's Itsu sushi bar before he was slipped lethal radioactive polonium-210.

The three-page dossier was handed to Scotland Yard by the victim and is now being analysed by the anti-terrorist branch. The News of the World has obtained a copy and can reveal it contains a chilling hitlist with Litvinenko, 43, as a prime target.


A security source who leaked the document to us said: "This is dynamite. It's clear there's a violent and ruthless campaign to wipe out anyone who gets under the skin of the new regime in Russia."

And as a massive police manhunt got underway to find Igor, understood to be deep undercover at a secret Italian hideout, health officials in London went on alert.

Following an emergency meeting of the government's COBRA comittee, an appeal was issued for anyone who used the Piccadilly sushi restaurant and the Millennium Hotel — both used by former KGB colonel Litvinenko on November 1, the day he was poisoned — to contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647. Both places tested positive for radiation.

It also emerged that the Sushi bar is to be decontaminated and that polonium traces have been found at two other separate addresses in the capital, and also at Litvinenko's home.

The extraordinary hitlist, which was originally given to Litvinenko by Italian academic Mario Scaramella, mentions the doomed poison victim FIVE times.

It reveals that Dignity And Honour, part of a group of ex-KGB spies, appear to be waging their own Cold War on dissidents trying to embarrass President Vladimir Putin.

After naming Igor the document describes his killing capabilities and expertise. He walks with a slight limp after an accident to his right leg, but is lean and muscular, six feet tall, with greying black hair.

He is said to be a "master in judo" who speaks perfect English and Portuguese as well as Russian.

The hitlist in the leaked document, which appears to be a whistleblowing report from an insider, details names in the firing line including:

- FEARLESS journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was shot dead in Moscow last month, after exposing Russian atrocities. (top left)

- PROFESSOR Mario Scaramella, who gave the document to Litvinenko and probed KGB infiltration for the Italian parliament. (top right)

- HUMAN rights activist and novelist Vladimir Bukovsky, who campaigned over attempts to dump radioactive material off northern Russia. bottom right)

- ANTI-PUTIN billionaire Boris Berezovsky, 60, who bankrolled a candidate to stand against Putin in the 2004 elections. (bottom left)

- CRUSADING Italian Senator Paolo Guzzanti who is in charge of an influential committee probing KGB links in Italy. (centre)

It has neem revealed that Litvinenko was poisoned with a massive overdose of the deadly polonium-210. A Whitehall source told the News of the World: "A few microbes would be fatal, but we think he had a TEASPOON'S worth—more than a billion times what was needed to kill him."

Experts believe the poison was delivered in a liquid solution in drink. After learning of the "worryingly high" levels of radiation discovered at the sushi bar, the government issued its plea for customers — and those of the Millennium Hotel's Pine Bar, which was yesterday sealed off — to contact NHS Direct.

By Saturday more than 300 diners had called in.

The experts fear that if, say, a waiter's finger came into contact with the poison it could be passed on in "a daisy chain effect", from person to person.

Itsu boss Clive Schlee insisted: "I understand the Health Protection Agency has to take all precautions. But I've not had a single report from our staff or customers of any illness related in any way to November 1."

In yet another twist to the drama, sources close to Litvinenko also claimed there was a connection between his murder and the mystery death of a British lawyer in a helicopter crash two years ago.

Stephen Curtis, 45, who died in 2004, was chairman of security firm ISC Global which worked for a group of Russian tycoons who had fallen out with Putin.

Our insider claimed: "The inquest recorded accidental death but two weeks before the tragedy Stephen said if something happened to him it would NOT not be an accident.

"He had told of threats and felt he was under surveillance. I'm told he also had a ‘hit list' similar to Lit-vinenko's and had passed it onto the authorities."


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7: Journalist Anna Politkovskaya is shot dead. Litvinenko begins to probe.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1: Litvinenko meets Italian academic Prof Mario Scaramella at Itsu sushi bar London and receives hitlist papers. Then he meets two Russian men at the Millennium Hotel. Later falls sick and admitted to Barnet Hospital.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17: Transferred to University College Hospital.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20: Moved to Intensive Care. Kremlin denies any involvement.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23: Litvinenko dies at 9.21pm.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

TWO-TIMING MARIA: Sound of Music star caught cheating

Exclusive by James Desborough

SOUND Of Music heroine Connie Fisher has a secret Edel-vice—sneakily doing all her favourite things with backstage sound man Leigh Davies.

After innocently kissing hero lover Neal Williams ‘So Long, Farewell' at home, she rushes to the arms of her London Palladium squeeze.

In a cheat-packed week, Connie— whose pure voice and goody-goody image clinched the lead role as the songbird nun in TV reality show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?—was clocked:

- SNOGGING Davies passionately in dark alleys and doorways.

- MOUTHING sweet nothings on an intimate dinner date.

- ENJOYING romantic hand-in-hand strolls around London's West End.

- CUDDLING up with him on the backseat of a cab.

One fan who spotted them told us: "They behaved like a couple really smitten. Their hands were all over each other and those clinches were so passionate. They only had eyes and lips for each other."

The week was all go. While keeping those trysts from trusting soldier Neal, crafty Connie, 23, managed to win rave reviews for the Andrew Lloyd Webber hit's official opening, wow crowds at the glitzy first-night party and put on a storming performance of Do-Re-Mi for Friday's BBC Children In Need marathon.

Connie, 23, and Davies, 29—who also has a long-term partner, actress and singer Vivienne Carlyle—went to great lengths to hide their relationship from the rest of the cast and crew. But on FRIDAY November 10 Connie and Davies were spotted slipping away from the theatre for a cosy dinner date.


The technician waited nearby while Connie signed autographs for waiting fans. Then he jumped in a VW people carrier with her and they were whisked to Soho. After being dropped off they held hands as they walked to swish Italian restaurant Carpe Diem on Wardour Street.

They sat at a small table and talked passionately, caressing each other's hands.

Eventually they emerged, but gazed longingly into each other's eyes then ducked into a dark alleyway for an intimate two-minute snog. A bit later they were seen kissing in a doorway.

Hand-in-hand, they strolled to Soho Square and enjoyed yet another kiss and cuddle on the corner.

As Connie's driver pulled up, Leigh tenderly kissed Connie on the lips, saying goodnight. He then waited for his car to take him home to Gidea Park, Essex.

A theatre insider told us: "You'd have believed that Connie and Leigh were the real thing—they were all over each other."

Next day—SATURDAY, November 11—they were at it again.

Pembrokeshire-born Connie kissed he-man Neal–who has served under fire in Iraq with the 31st Signal Regiment—on the driveway of her home in Sydenham, south London, before heading in to perform her matinee at around 12.30pm.

The couple, who have dated for more than three years, met up for a Chinese meal close to the theatre around 5.15pm. Unsuspecting Neal then returned to his Wimbledon home.

After the evening show, when stage door crowds had vanished, Connie and Davies came out and walked arm in arm towards Carnaby Street.

The pair held hands, chatted affectionately and stared long into each other's eyes before ducking into a dark corner and kissing intensely for about two minutes.

A fan who spotted the action said: "Even though they tried to duck out of sight they could be seen getting very intimate. They really went for it." All smiles, the couple turned back but couldn't resist a second doorway session with Connie's hands running all over her man's back.

They then walked separately to the nearby Shaston Arms pub, arriving around 12.30am for drinks with friends. Forty minutes later Neal, 27, met smiling Connie at the pub front door. They left holding hands soon after, and headed back to her home.

The fan who saw it all told us: "Connie just switched back into faithful girlfriend mode. She acted like everything was normal, and they walked off hand in hand.

"Her boyfriend didn't seem to have a clue about what happened just minutes earlier." On MONDAY Connie was with Neal at the Palladium until early evening. Minutes after he left, Davies arrived for work around 6pm.

After the show he watched from a doorway across the road and made a phone call as Connie signed pictures for fans. Then he strolled off down Regent Street—until Connie picked him up there in her chauffeured people carrier 10 minutes later.

In the back of the car they hugged passionately and went into a deep snog. As they drove across town Connie was clearly seen nuzzling and kissing Davies. At around 11.30pm Leigh got out at Liverpool Street Station, enjoying a lingering smooch before jumping onto a train home.

Another driver told us: "They were like teenage lovers. The second the bloke set foot in that car, Connie just flung herself onto him."

On TUESDAY Davies and Connie again took time out to enjoy each other's company, strolling down Carnaby Street deep in conversation for 35 minutes.

WEDNESDAY was the show's press night followed by a big star-studded launch party. Connie and Davies both arrived with their partners. Smiling Connie and Neal headed home around 1.30am. But Davies and Vivienne, right, appeared to have a blazing row on their way out around 20 later. Furious Vivienne, 34, who has starred in West End musicals herself, pulled away from her man as he tried to walk arm in arm to their car.

On THURSDAY night after the show Connie repeated her Monday routine of picking Davies up in Regent Street, away from the theatre, before enjoying a 20-minute kiss and cuddle in the back of the car on its way to Liverpool Street.

Minutes earlier Davies had even pretended to say goodbye to the singer, helping load her bags into the car outside the stage door and strolling away. At one stage on the ride across town Connie disappeared low in the vehicle for over three minutes as Davies remained motionless.

After a long goodnight snog at the station Davies walked away and blew the star one last kiss.

Despite a whirlwind rise to fame from telesales to West End megastar, Connie vowed to stay grounded and stick with signalman Neal. She has said: "Neal is my own rock...we haven't changed. I can come home and always be his Connie."

She added: "He's so gorgeous. He looks like Brad Pitt, so there's no way I'm letting go of him. There's more chance of him running off with Jennifer Aniston than me running off with anybody."

But a source at the London Palladium revealed: "Connie and Leigh's friendship has been the talk of the show for the past few weeks. They appear extraordinarily close. It's got tongues wagging."

Last night, when asked about Davies, Connie said: "Are you serious? He's my sound guy. I haven't time for an affair.

"I go out for drinks with lots of members of cast and crew. Going out for drinks is not having an affair."

Sunday, November 12, 2006


By Rav Singh

SUPERSTAR Britney Spears is facing a mega divorce payout because she did it again and again and again... on a HONEYMOON sex video.

Dumped husband Kevin Federline has been touting the four-hour tape for sale and has already been offered £26 MILLION.

A film company wants to make it available online to fans around the world.

One close pal said: "This vid is dynamite and Kev knows it."

And the News of the World can also reveal that Britney slapped divorce papers on Federline - who had already been linked with hookers - after she caught him in a bedroom with another woman.


Britney, 24, fears the raunchy footage will destroy her wholesome image unless she caves in to his demands for a £16million payoff and custody of their children Sean Preston, one, and Jayden James, eight weeks.

She is worried she will become infamous like Paris Hilton - whose home-made sex video, was put on the internet by her ex and became one of the world's most popular sites.

Federline, 28, has bragged to pals that his X-rated tape shows the Oops, I Did It Again singer performing a series of explicit sex acts.

The home-made video is believed to show the naked couple enjoying an uninhibited range of love-making and sexual games.It was made during the first weeks of their relationship two years ago when they were holed up in one of the exclusive bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

The source close to Federline said: "At the time the two of them were in the honeymoon stages of the relationship and couldn't keep their hands off each other.

"They did nothing all day but have sex - and play the odd game of chess.

"They were insatiable and they believed they would be together forever.

"Britney didn't think twice about making the video at the time. She mistakenly believed that their love would last.

"They adored filming each other. They lived their lives in front of the cameras - even making a short-lived reality TV show of their exploits.

"Sex was no different to them, it seems. Now this video could prove very costly to her.

"Millions of people will be prepared to pay to watch.

"Kevin has told Britney she should comply with his demands otherwise the whole world will see her having sex, which will be devastating."

He added: "At the moment Kev is in talks with a company in Arizona about putting the four-hour sex vid online. If it all goes to plan he'll make £26million from it."

The source explained that Federline is so enraged with his estranged wife he will do anything to hurt her.

Meanwhile a pal of Britney added: "She is absolutely furious with Kevin, and knows a full-on sex video could almost certainly ruin her chance of a career come-back.

"They were made for the couple to watch in the privacy of their home. She never thought that he'd threaten to SELL them.


"Britney has contacted her lawyers to see how she can stop him but it is going to be a hard one. It is his tape, so in theory he owns the copyright."

We can reveal Britney - worth at least £50million after hits like Hit Me Baby One More Time - filed for divorce after she stormed into his hotel room and found him with another woman.

The singer flew into New York a day after her wannabe rapper husband to join his tour.

But he stood her up at The Library restaurant, and she was seen in floods of tears before storming to the Regency Hotel where he was staying. A source said: "It is against the hotel's policy to give keys to people not staying in the hotel, but she was so upset that when she demanded it they handed it straight over.

"She raced up to his room and found another girl in there.

"They didn't need to be doing anything. Just the fact she was in there was enough to confirm months of suspicions, rumours and accusations about him playing away.

"Two members of staff were fired for handing over the keys, but the damage was done.

"Britney had seen all she had to and decided their marriage was over on the spot."

Last week she filed for divorce after dumping him by text.

Federline is only entitled to £2million and half the sale of their £7million home in Santa Barbara because of the watertight pre-nuptial agreement they signed before they wed.

Britney also gets to take back his £78,000 Ferrari, custom-made motorbike and any gifts worth more than £6,000.

Two days later Federline filed his own divorce petition. He is demanding £16million, custody of their children and for Britney to pay his legal fees and maintenance.

A pal said: "The bid for custody of the kids was a warning shot that Kevin means business.

"And, more importantly, that he is NOT going to go away quietly with his pre-nup pittance.

"He wants an awful lot more. and he'll most likely get it."

But the star put a brave face on her troubles this week as she celebrated her freedom. She was spotted beaming away in a big baggy jumper at an ice rink in New York.

Giggling as she took a twirl, the singer was filmed by a fan.

Coke, Vice Girls and Vegas

By Georgina Dickinson

SOBBING Britney broke down in her mum's arms last week as she finally admitted: My husband is a love rat into GAMBLING, HOOKERS and DRUGS.

Worried Lynne Spears begged her daughter to leave Federline. Now Britney has finally accepted that he:
- ROMPED with Vegas hookers,
- SNORTED cocaine and popped ecstasy in a limo, and
- SQUANDERED millions on boozy 24-hour gambling sessions.

A close friend of Britney revealed: "For ages she was blinded by love for Kevin. Now she's seen the light."

Prostitute Danielle Coakley, 20, has told how she took drugs and partied with Federline while Britney was pregnant. She said: "Kevin was a real party animal. We went to two casinos then back to his hotel suite in Vegas. There were lots of drugs—cocaine, weed and ecstasy. We shared an E in his limo on the way then passed out on his bed." And £500-a-night stripper Vanessa Hulihan, 30, revealed she spent weekends with him.

She said: "Kevin said we could be together if he wasn't married. Another time I went to his hotel suite and the tub was full of strippers."

Kevin was also seen blowing thousands at gambling tables while cuddling up to porn star Kendra Jade, 29.

Secrets of her £65m Pre-Nup

CANNY Britney has protected her millions with a watertight pre-nuptial agreement of astonishing detail, it has been revealed.

Federline may be using the sex video in the hope of upping his payout but LEGALLY he's entitled to as little as £160,000 cash.

Britney, then worth £65million, even staged a fake wedding in September 2004 because the pre-nup was not ready. The couple then went through a second legal ceremony almost three weeks later.

The pre-wedding deal, referred to as the Smith and Jones Cohabitation/Pre-nuptial Agreement, states the couple agree to each have a one-half share of their £5.2 million home in Malibu.

The agreement BANS Federline from getting his hands on any money Britney had before their marriage when a large part of her fortune was earned.

It also BANS him from getting any cash from deals pre-dating the marriage.

Even gifts he has received from her valued at more than £5,263 require a legal document signed by both of them stating who owns it if they split.

In the first draft of the pre-nup, Federline was due to receive £18,947 a year in the event of a split. This was later increased to £157,894 ‘spousal support' for every two years of marriage. As they wed just over two years ago, this could be all he gets.

Kevin Federline was worth £15,789 when he wed. He submitted a one-page document listing assets. He was earning £39,000 a year, while his bride's income was £10.2 milllion. The pre-nup lists Britney's bling as worth £170,000, including a diamond engagement ring she bought herself.

Merchandise, including her perfume Curious, earned her £8.5million, endorsements £11million and music, including touring, royalties and a record deal were worth £13.5 million.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


EXCLUSIVE: Beckhams' fears over epileptic son Romeo

By Rav Singh

VICTORIA Beckham has confessed that her son Romeo is battling epilepsy, the News of the World can reveal.

Posh and Becks were "devastated" when specialists confirmed that their four-year-old middle child has the brain condition which causes violent fits.

Sufferers can die during an attack and many have to take medication for the rest of their lives.

Posh has revealed that she and David are now terrified flash photos will spark an epileptic fit that could kill him.

The world's most-photographed celebrity family are desperate to protect little Romeo from fans and paparazzi eager to get a snap.

The lad, who turned four just five weeks ago, has been warned to avoid flashing lights known to cause potentially-fatal seizures.

The frightened youngster reacted violently after being photographed at Heathrow last Saturday as he returned to Britain from Madrid with Posh and brothers Brooklyn, seven, and Cruz, one.

Initially he shielded his eyes against the flashes as his mother pushed him through the terminal building in his buggy and out to a waiting car.

He then started screaming in terror and lashing out with his legs as one photographer pressed his camera inside the car and started flashing.

Only then did horrified Posh, 32, reveal the truth about brave Romeo's dangerous condition.

She pulled her blond-headed son to her, shielded him from the lights and yelled: "Leave him alone.

"He's got epilepsy. All that flashing will start an epileptic fit. You can't do that!"

Kevin Smith — owner of Splash news, the agency that took the shot —said: "No picture is worth putting a child's life in danger.

"Now that we know Romeo has epilepsy I will not be authorising any of my photographers to take flash pictures of him. I think this is absolutely the right thing to do and I hope other agencies follow suit."

And we at the News of the World are only printing the shocking picture — taken BEFORE the facts were known — to persuade fans and the world's press to act responsibly.

The frightening incident came soon after specialists told the couple that Romeo's condition was more serious than first feared and that he had epilepsy.

Romeo has endured a series of frightening fits and has been rushed to hospital four times in three years.

Intially it was thought his attacks were simply febrile convulsions, common in young children running a high temperature.

But when the fits continued with no clear explanation he was tested for epilepsy, which has now been confirmed.

A close friend of Posh and Real Madrid star Becks said: "They have told friends the situation. While it's heartbreaking, he is being brave.

"They are devastated — worried sick about Romeo. He is on medication to control the seizures but obviously things like flashing lights can trigger one at any time.

"They can only hope the medication limits the number of fits he suffers to a minimum and he can enjoy as normal a life as possible. Epilepsy affects a great number of people and many grow out of it. They are just praying Romeo gets better."

A friend of Victoria's said of the Heathrow drama: "Romeo was very distressed. He hates flashes going off because he knows what they can do to him.

"Normally he just shields his eyes but this was right in his face. There was nowhere for them to go.

"Victoria was really scared and tried to shield him. She was furious. That's why she yelled out — anything to make them stop and think about what they're doing to him."

Flash photography is one of the trigger factors for epileptic seizures. In extreme cases attacks can be fatal. News of the World doctor Hilary Jones said: "We do not know how seriously the condition affects Romeo but if he is having grand mals — which cause the sufferer to thrash about and bite their tongue — it can cause a fatality.

"It is extremely rare but the Beckhams will not want to expose him to that sort of risk. The paparazzi — and the fans — should take care when they're around Romeo."

Victoria has been seeking advice from celebrity pal Elton John, who also suffers from the condition. He is godfather to little Romeo and his older brother Brooklyn.

The pal added: "Elton has been a tower of strength for the Beckhams since they found out the news. He's been able to tell them how it affected him and how to cope."

Other famous sufferers of epilepsy include Julius Caesar, Vincent van Gogh, Sir Winston Churchill, Napoleon, actor Richard Burton and comic Rik Mayall.

Plucky Romeo was first rushed to Princess Alexandria Hospital in Harlow, Essex, in October 2003, aged just one, after suffering frightening convulsions.

He had a high temperature and his face had turned blue. He was kept in overnight for observation.

Just weeks before he had two stitches in his forehead after falling on an escalator in Madrid.

Then in July last year he was taken to hospital again after suffering similar convulsions.

In October Romeo was back in hospital twice in four days in Madrid after collapsing again.

Former England skipper David, 31, postponed plans to fly off for a World Cup qualifier against Austria to be at his son's bedside.

Romeo was first taken to the La Paz hospital for two hours before his parents were allowed to take him home.

But four days later the Beckhams rushed him to the Ruber International Hospital in Madrid where he was detained for four days for extensive tests.

- Epilepsy affects one in every 130 people in the UK.

- Sufferers can experience petit mals, which are slight blackouts, to grand mals, where their bodies convulse and they can lose consciousness for several minutes.

- It is treatable with anti-convulsant drugs and most sufferers can lead a normal life. But in more extreme cases their lives can be ruined by near-constant seizures.

- In six out of ten sufferers, epilepsy can be explained by brain tumours or injuries to the head. But for the rest there is no easy explanation and the cause remains a mystery.

The Beckhams have had their share of medical scares with their sons. Brooklyn had a hernia operation at just six weeks old.

Last night a spokesman for the Beckhams said: "We can't comment on any medical matters."

But a friend of the couple added: "It's been a harrowing period for Victoria and David. They are desperately worried about their son."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

MACCA EXCLUSIVE: Stella's bitter hatred for Heather


By Rav Singh and James Desborough

PAUL McCartney's daughter Stella threatened to KILL her hated stepmother in a blazing bust-up with her dad, we can reveal.

The fashion designer flew into a terrifying rage after hearing that Heather claimed Macca hit her mother Linda.

Pregnant Stella, 34, had to be restrained by the former Beatle as she screamed: "I'm going to kill that bitch! I can't believe what she's doing! I'm going to kill her!'"

It was clear she didn't mean it literally but she was beside herself after reading what Heather had said about Linda.

"I told you she was a bitch," she screamed. "Why did you marry her? She's been a manipulative cow from day one. The cow won't be happy until she destroys all of us — and our memories of our mother'."

Last week we revealed how Heather was the violent one in the collapsed marriage, smashing up rooms, hurling missiles and making threats against her husband.

Now we can reveal the full extent of Stella's bitter hatred of the woman who replaced her beloved mother. Our source revealed how:

# THE two women thrashed out an astonishing HATE PACT after the marriage so they would never have to talk to each other.

# STELLA is so disgusted by the blonde ex-model she compared her to a pile of VOMIT, calling her morning sickness "Heathering".

# ONLY weeks away from giving birth, Stella is under so much strain she has HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, putting her pregnancy in jeopardy, and Sir Paul, 64, is drinking heavily.

# HIS marriage was in tatters TEN MONTHS ago — and when a desperate Sir Paul suggested marriage counselling, 38-year-old Heather REFUSED.

Stella's explosive rant happened during a meeting with her dad to discuss the divorce. "Paul kept pleading with her to calm down—but she couldn't," said a source close to the family.

"She wanted to go straight to see Heather, but he said, ‘You can't go anywhere in that state'. He had to stand in front of the door and stop her. He was pleading with her. It was a heartbreaking scene."

And it was the culmination of a resentment that had been bubbling since the day Macca announced he was going to marry the ex-model.

Our source told how a few weeks after the 2002 wedding, the rock legend got Stella and Heather together on a secret night out in London.

"He was adamant they should be one big happy family — he didn't realise how wrong he could be.

"From what Stella said to friends she told her stepmum she was a money-grabbing bitch and Heather hissed at her to mind her own business.

"The upshot of a very frosty evening was, ‘You keep out of my way, I'll keep out of yours'. It broke Paul's heart."

Stella's hatred only deepened as she watched the marriage crumble.

When she had morning sickness she gave it a nickname. "She called it Heathering. That's how bad it is," said our source.

"Heather is just vomit as far as she's concerned. But what she's doing to Stella's dad is really getting to her. Her blood pressure is very high, not something you need in the latter stages of a pregnancy."

Our source told how the marriage was in trouble from the start of this year.

"They were arguing over anything and Heather was taking it out on her staff. Once she reduced their gardener to tears because she didn't like the way he'd cut the flowers.

"Paul would spend more and more time at Stella's and would be constantly on the phone to her when he was at home.

"He would say, ‘I just don't know what to do any more. I love her but she's become this horrible woman.'

"Stella would get so upset listening to her dad she once said, ‘I don't want to bring my child into this world with her as a grandmother. She's a bitch from hell'."

In May, Macca suggested marriage counselling in a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage, said our source. But she flatly refused. "She told him he was the problem and if he sorted himself out it would all be fine," said our source. "This was the last straw for Paul who started drinking heavily. Stella grew more and more concerned.

"It was at this point Stella noticed Heather would carry a black Prada bag with her and Paul said she'd always leave it in the middle of the table. They now believe it had a tape recorder in it." Stella never saw them fighting — but did once walk in after they had a bust-up over Heather's spending.

A source close to Stella said: "She told me Paul was close to tears.

"Heather had been spending far too much on clothes and they had a huge row with Paul telling her to cut down.

"She would buy bags of outfits and wear dresses only once. It was like she had won the lottery. Paul really loved her and would do anything for her but it was just take, take, take."

The one good thing from the marriage collapse is that it has drawn the McCartneys together again as a family. Macca has seen much more of Linda's daughter Heather, 43, who stayed away from his Peasmarsh home throughout his new marriage.

"It was a huge surprise for loads of staff when Heather turned up at the house to see her stepdad," said our source.

"She'd not visited for four years. The same applies to Mary and James, his other kids.

"Paul would have to go to see them rather than them coming home. In the last few months that's changed. They're united against Heather."

Sunday, October 22, 2006


By James Desborough

Shattered Paul McCartney plans to unleash damning evidence in his bitter divorce battle with Heather Mills.

Hurt by her leaked court papers claiming he was a violent, drug-taking drunk, Macca has enough ammunition to destroy the beauty's lies — and prove that it was HER who was the violent nightmare in their four-year marriage.

In our exclusive coverage, you can also read:



For the first time since the showbiz divorce of the century started, one of Sir Paul's aides has broken ranks to tell the News of the World how Heather:

# SMASHED up chairs and threw ornaments at the singer in screaming rows at their Peasmarsh home.

# HURLED a bottle of ketchup at him during one blazing hour-long bust-up over dinner.

# RANTED at him constantly in front of staff, branding him "old man", and a "b*stard".

# SPAT out her chilling threat to ruin him in a car-park showdown, yelling: "I'm absolutely gonna take you to the cleaners."

# DEMANDED Sir Paul use his millions to buy a string of homes.

# LONGED to have her own chat show—and FANTASISED about becoming the new Posh.

# DESERTED bewildered Macca for weeks at a time leaving him to look after toddler Beatrice.

The aide's revelations come as Macca's former loyal PR man Geoff Baker — sacked by the star because of his suspicions about Heather — also blasts holes through the blonde's accusations.

Our insider — who does not want to be named — told us: "For Paul the gloves are really off now, and he's ready to trash her in court.

"He refutes her lies and is is preparing to detail HER appalling behaviour. The staff have seen it all — and we reckon he's a saint for putting up with her as long as he did.

"Paul spent millions of pounds on her — but she never appreciated it. She became like Andy from Little Britain —‘I want that one, I want that one — wherever she went. If he turned her down she just let rip at him."

The aide said staff often witnessed fights between the two at the 64-year-old former Beatle's 160-acre estate in Sussex. They heard the couple screaming at each other, and furniture being wrecked in the living and dining rooms and kitchen from September 2003 — a month before Beatrice was born.

Our source said: "It was Heather who caused all the rows by constantly nagging Paul, and they turned violent. Her face would go red with rage.

"I have seen her slam doors in his face, and when he followed her into a room there would be crashing, banging and smashing.

"You could hear what was happening, and it sounded like Heather was the one doing the attacking. Chairs were smashed as well as ornaments. Then the housekeeper would have to come in and clean up afterwards.

"There was at least one of these a month and we'd all walk around with our tin hats on."

Staff dubbed the most vicious fight the "ketchup battle" in September 2003.

"One of the cleaners said it was like a tornado had hit the living room. Vegetarian food was all over the floor, lamps were smashed, crockery, cutlery and glasses were broken.

"But on the wall there were the marks where a bottle of ketchup had been thrown and landed just behind where Paul usually sits. It must have just missed him.

"They had to get special cleaners to clear up the mess. A very expensive carpet was ruined and had to be chucked out.

"This argument was the most talked about, but not the last. Those cleaners visited the house at least five times a year from then on after big rows between them.

"Paul always tried to keep his rows away from the staff, but you couldn't fail to hear Heather screaming. We all knew it was another humdinger and to keep our heads down."

Macca's aides also witnessed a terrifying row in the car park close to their main home on the estate last summer.

"After they pulled up in his Mercedes she leapt out of the car waving her hands at him and screaming, ‘If you wanna get rid of me, do you know how much it is gonna cost you? Do you know how much you stand to lose? I'm absolutely gonna take you to the cleaners'."

Staff believe that was the row which brought home to Sir Paul what a mess he was in. They had known for a long time — and had themselves been on the rough end of her tongue too often.

"She was called the Ice Queen behind her back," said the aide. "She was often rude to us. We all felt that she saw us as slaves."


And she reckoned her husband wasn't slaving hard enough to make her a star. Once, when he tried to stop her haranguing him about her potential TV career at the swish Hilden Health Club in Rye, staff heard her rant: "You're an old man.

"You b***tard, don't you care anymore? Don't you love me? I've given you a baby — is this how you repay me?"

The source continued: "Many rows came out of Heather's hopes to make it big on TV. In summer 2004 she was even begging Paul to help her get her own chat show.

"I remember her saying, ‘I want a chat show on my own, everyone else is doing it — why can't I have one?'

Dozens of rows were fuelled by Heather's desire to turn her and rocker Paul into an older version of Posh and Becks.

"Heather dreamt of living like the Beckhams. She wanted that showbiz lifestyle," said our source.

"She desperately wanted to do photo shoots in glossy mags. She kept asking, ‘Why can't we do that. Why are they in there and we're not?'"

She made up for what she saw as her lack of fame by trying to spend like a billionaire. In one heated phone call in March, Paul appealed to his wife to stop demanding he buy more homes, said our source.

"He asked her, ‘How much have you got to have before enough is enough?'"

Troublemaker Heather, 38, would leave the family home for weeks at a time after bitter bust-ups from the summer of 2004 — often going to her home in Brighton.

"She'd just suddenly up sticks, jump in her Porsche and disappear. Then they didn't see each other for a week or even two and he was left with the baby. Two weeks was the longest she stayed away.

"It was always up to Paul to make up, and get his wife back. While she was away he would always say they had a clash of diaries — but to us that was the codeword for they'd fallen out and she'd gone off."

Paul would be left to look after Beatrice. "This is where we all think Heather shoots herself in the foot," said our source.

"In her court papers she alleges Paul is a drunk and drug user, yet she's quite happy to leave the baby with him for a week while she goes off to America at short notice."

Macca's aides believe Heather's divorce paper accusations were a move to prompt him into handing her a whopping payout.

"When he saw those claims Paul was absolutely devastated," added the insider.

"He's still in complete disbelief at what she's said and is going to fight her tooth and nail.

"He's tried to call her but we're told she won't pick up the phone. It's crazy because we all expected an out of court settlement was close to being agreed. Now she's pushing for half of everything or holding out for £200m.

"Paul wants this done and dusted, he wants this dealt with so he can get on with his life and back to normality.

"He doesn't want a slagging match in court or in the media."

However the confidante did claim Macca will bring up Mill's past as a porn model and hooker — revealed by the News of the World — in court.

"Quite simply for Paul the gloves are well and truly off. He will bring up her past life and could take this divorce into a whole new direction." Paul's aide is confident his boss will prove himself innocent of Heather's claims.

"She is living in the realms of fantasy. Many of us have known Paul for more than 20 years and he's not a violent human being.

"I've never seen him drunk with Beatrice and if he has a spliff he becomes your best mate, rather than wants to kill you.

"There are many members of his staff, band and entourage who will testify to that. Heather should be the one doing the worrying."

Sunday, October 15, 2006


By Neil McLeod

SOCCER billionaire Roman Abramovich faces the biggest divorce payout in history as his marriage hits the rocks.

The News of the World can reveal that the Chelsea tycoon's wife Irina has called in top lawyers following his close friendship with beauty Daria Zhokova, 23.

Last week Abramovich, 40, failed to get a court injuction to stop us exposing the relationship - now he stands to lose HALF his £11 billion fortune.

Irina has called on two of Britain's toughest divorce lawyers — nicknamed Jaws and Mr Payout — in a bombshell move that follows months of marital misery.

If she wins a £5.5 billion settlement from the Chelsea owner it would dwarf the world's current record divorce payout of £1 billion.

One insider said last night: "It simply is too big to comprehend. There are oceans of cash to be split, companies, yachts, homes and cars.

"This could be the divorce battle to end all divorce battles."

We can reveal that Irina, 39, the mother of Rom's five children, has called in lawyers Sears Tooth, one of the country's leading divorce firms.

They acted for Cheryl Barrymore in her split from comic Michael and for Sadie Frost in her break-up with Hollywood actor Jude Law.

Irina has kept several appointments at their London offices over the past two weeks.

Boss Raymond Tooth, known as Jaws in the legal trade because of his fearsome reputation, saw her personally.

She instructed the firm to take her case past the talking stage and they have already appointed one of Britain's leading divorce barristers to handle the case if it goes to court.

Slick QC Nicholas Mostyn, 49, is known as Mr Payout because of his amazing success rate — including winning £4 million for former England star Ray Parlour's wife Karen.

The £500-an-hour court showman has also been drafted into Sir Paul McCartney's team in his divorce fight against Heather Mills.

Despite being driven in a limo and guarded by ex-SAS bodyguards, Irina was able to visit the Park Lane offices of Sears Tooth without fuss.

Her visits have come to light following our revelations last week about her husband and beautiful brunette Daria Zhukova, 17 years his junior. Abramovich tried to gag us with a High Court injunction but failed.

A source revealed last night: "They were kept very hush hush. She met with Raymond Tooth, the top man in the whole company and he will be over-seeing her business personally. Some clients can get handed down to other partners, but not a lady who can lay claim to part of £11bn.

"Irina is tough and means business. Things have gone well beyond the stage of making a simple enquiry.

"It will obviously be a massively complicated case as Abramovich has dozens upon dozens of businesses, accounts, holdings and funds."

For months the Chelsea boss has rarely been seen with his wife and has been jetting all over the world for meetings with stunning model Daria. Another source said: "The Abramovich marriage has been suffering for some time now. They have struggled to keep it under wraps but many people have noticed.

"They live pretty much separate lives. She has long been frustrated by his devotion to his business interests and football, now she has to contend with his close relationship with another woman.

"He does a lot of globe-trotting — but she cannot follow him everywhere he goes because she, not a team of nannies, looks after their children.

"There is more to the marriage split than just Roman's relationship with Daria. In truth, Irina was seeking to do something about the marriage long before news of that relationship broke.

"But now it has, it will be very difficult for her to turn back. It is sad but it seems this really is irreversible."

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea for £140 million three years ago, started out as a penniless orphan and is now the world's 11th richest man. His wealth in cash alone is estimated at £8 billion.

As for homes, his collection of mansions is his pride and joy.

He owns the £18 million, 420-acre Fyning Hill Estate in West Sussex, a £29 million penthouse in Kensington, and the £15 million former home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Chateaux de la Croe in France.

He has an £11 million five-storey listed house in Belgravia, an £18 million six-storey mansion in Knightsbridge, a £10 million pad in St Tropez and a 104-acre estate near Moscow worth £8 million.

He once ordered a £4 million extension at Fyning Hill to be knocked down because it was too small, and told builders to put up a £5 million replacement.

Then there is the fleet of ships. Flagship is the £72 million Pelorus, which has bulletproof glass and its own submarine.

Another, the Ecstasea, is also worth £72 million. It has its own pool and Turkish bath.

A third cruiser, Le Grand Blue, cost a modest £60 millon and has its own helipad. It is used mainly for staff. A fourth "gigayacht" worth £100 million is under construction.

He also has his own aircraft — a £56 million Boeing 767, a £28 million Boeing Business jet, and two helicopters worth £35 million.

He has a fleet of cars and spent £1 million on two made-to-order versions of the world's most exclusive car, the Maybach 62, for him and his wife.

One of Irina's first tasks, as with any divorce, will be to list all of her husband's wealth.

But Abramovich — who rarely gives interviews and remains a man of mystery — may not want his business dealings revealed in court.

Our source said: "The whole thing may simply be too complicated for him to want to get involved in and an out-of-court settlement could be the best way to go."

Irina, who became his second wife in 1991, met the tycoon when he was so poor he couldn't afford a beefburger. She was his rock as his empire grew and they had five children, now aged between three and 13.

She is close pals with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and has been decribed as a "frenetic shopper" who loves Prada, Gucci and Armani — with London's Sloane Street said to be "the centre of her universe."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

LIAR: Week Two of our Tommy Sheridan sensation

By Euan McColm

LAST week we promised you further damning revelations that prove Tommy Sheridan is a liar, an adulterer and a hypocrite and - unlike the Scots sleazeball - we are true to our word.

Now we can expose another HUGE lie told in court by two-faced Sheridan. The News of the World's dynamite 40-minute video reveals that the shamed politician DID go to a swingers' club with Danish beauty Katrine Trolle.

And his confession undoubtedly means the ex-Scottish Socialist Party leader's snivelling denials that he enjoyed threesomes with her and romped with her in his wife's bed are also brazen lies.

It proves beyond any doubt that the MSP committed PERJURY during his libel case against the News of the World AND pulled the wool over the jury's eyes to win his record £200,000 payout.

Hours after we published our first excerpts last Sunday, police launched a criminal probe which could send Sheridan and four colleagues who backed his story in court to jail.

Now - in the second instalment of our tape - when quizzed by close pal George McNeilage about Cupids sex club in Manchester, sleazy Sheridan confirms that 31-year-old Katrine went with him and his brother-in-law Andy McFarlane.

But the foul-mouthed MSP says: "She's a f*****g diamond...she'll never admit anything like that."


  • Stunning Katrine's bombshell confession
  • Proof that the voice on our tape IS Sheridan's
  • FOUR more clues that blow his 'fake tape' claim out of the water
  • His former pal George McNeilage brand him 'bonkers'

  • To view this week's video select one of the links below:

    Windows Media Player: Low quality High quality

    Real Media Player: Low quality High quality

    VOICE OVER: Last week we exclusively published tapes which proved that MSP Tommy Sheridan conned the jury at his libel trial against the News of the World. Sheridan won the case….and £200,000 in damages. No we exclusively reveal even more damning evidence against him…..

    The MSP told a court that he had not visited a swingers club – and that he had not admitted this to a meeting of the SSP’s Executive Committee.

    But during a secretly videoed meeting in November 2004 with George McNeilage – a best man at Sheridan’s wedding – the politician confessed all.

    He admitted that he had been to the club – and that he had been unfaithful to his wife with News of the World columnist Anvar Khan and SSP activist Katrine Trolle. Sheridan told McNeilage that SSP official Duncan Rowan had informed the News of the World about his affair with Katrine – but insisted she would not speak up about her trip to Cupids with the politician and his brother in law Andy McFarlane.

    In this clip, Sheridan begins by referring to Duncan Rowan…

    SHERIDAN: Goes to, goes to the News of the World and fires in Katrine Trolle’s name.

    MCNEILAGE: That’s the lassie..

    SHERIDAN: That’s the lassie from Dundee, right.

    MCNEILAGE: Her that was in Cupids with f****** you and f****** Andy?

    SHERIDAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. He goes and fires..I don’t know.

    MCNEILAGE: (Inaudible) she said I’m f****** flattered and all that.

    SHERIDAN: Katrine. Katrine is solid. Katrine is f******.

    MCNEILAGE: She’ll never admit it.

    SHERIDAN: she’ll never admit.

    MCNEILAGE: Nae money

    SHERIDAN: Never. She’s not interested in money. She’s a f****** diamond. She’ll never admit anything like that. Not a f****** problem. What p***** me off is a comrade goes and sticks in another comrade: to the News of the World.

    VOICE OVER: Sheridan went on to say he regretted telling colleagues about his swinging shame.

    SHERIDAN: That just finished me. I’ve then got Leckie, Catriona Grant, there saying have you been to lap dancing clubs? Have you paid for prostitutes? Have you did this? Have you had an affair with this Fiona McGuire? George, I’m telling, I’ve told the story and I wish I hadnae.

    VOICE OVER: SHERIDAN told how he lied to a journalist who asked why he had stepped down as SSP chief. The MSP bragged that he had lied saying he was quitting to spend time with wife Gail and their child, due to be born in 2005.

    SHERIDAN: So I then have to say to him look that’s just p***. You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. What’s happened is I’ve f****** resigned. I’m having to face up to a new chapter in my life. I don’t have a clue. I’m nervous about being a father. I’m going to have to f****** work at it. We’re a one man band, according to all you, but now we’ll prove we’re no’ a one I’ve put a positive f****** spin on it and that’s also a big mistake, right, because what’s happened, George, is I’ve done too well. I’ve actually f****** put a..I’ve put a very good spin on it. I’ve f****** come out fighting with it and it was a believable story. It was far fetched, perhaps, to some people but it was a believe...all the circumstances were there. The nominations have opened. Tommy’s wife’s pregnant, everybody knows that. Eh, Tommy’s 40 years of age. Everybody thinks the party’s a one man band, so it’s there, we’ve got a package. Thursday morning, I go in and I f****** give it full barrels. all sorts of wee questions about my personal life.bang bang bang I’ve dealt with it, George. I’ve f****** dealt with it and now I’m free.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    EXCLUSIVE: The secret tape proving Tommy Sheridan lied

    By Euan McColm

    CHEATING Tommy Sheridan can now be exposed once and for all as a LIAR, an ADULTERER and a HYPOCRITE.

    The ex-Scottish Socialist Party leader condemns himself in his OWN words in an explosive 40-minute video tape.

    The recording was made in secret by George McNeilage, best man at the left-wing firebrand's wedding to wife Gail, 42.

    And it proves beyond any doubt that the MSP committed PERJURY during his libel case against the News of the World AND pulled the wool over the jury's eyes to win his record £200,000 payout.

    Now you can read:
    # the full transcript of the tape
    # the lies that damn him
    # and the reason George McNeilage is mad with his former friend.


    On the tape, the 42-year-old perma-tanned politician admits that he:

    # VISITED Cupids swingers' club on at least two occasions
    # DID go to the seedy Manchester sex den with News of the World columnist Anvar Khan, and
    # CONFESSED to a meeting of the SSP executive on November 9, 2004 that he had been there.

    During the sensational five-week trial at Edinburgh's Court Of Session — which ended in August with Sheridan being awarded £200,000 in damages — he insisted that he had NEVER visited Cupids.

    He also told the court he had NEVER been there for sex sessions with Anvar.

    He maintained that he had NEVER slept with her since they dated in 1992.


    And he told the jury that he had NEVER confessed to that crunch SSP summit that he had attended the swingers' club.

    The bombshell tape is the most explosive piece of evidence in the history of Scottish defamation trials.

    It could send Sheridan to jail for perjury — and it is crucial in the police investigation into four of Sheridan's colleagues in the SSP who swore blind to judge and jury that he had never confessed his sleazy secrets to the executive meeting.

    If they are found guilty, then party MSP Rosemary Byrne and SSP officials Graeme McIver, Pat Smith and Jock Penman could all be facing a jail sentence in high-profile cases that would cut a huge swathe through Scottish politics.

    In his conversation with McNeilage, the TRUTH comes out and contradicts what Sheridan would say as he conducted his own defence in the Court of Session just two months ago.

    One of the pivotal points of the trial came when he denied he had been confronted by the SSP's policy chief Alan McCombes about being a swinger: "No, it's not accurate. It's nonsense," he maintained.

    But on tape he admits he told McCombes: "Look, stupid, shouldnae have done it. Done it once before in '96 and went back in 2002. And cheap thrill but it's been done and that's it."


    McNeilage recorded his conversation with Sheridan on a camcorder hidden beneath some tiles while he was decorating the front room of his home in the Pollok area of Glasgow.

    He didn't release it at the time because he was certain his old friend would lose his court case and the evidence wouldn't be needed.

    Sheridan, a member of the Scottish Parliament who describes fellow MSPs and party colleagues as c***s during the talk, visited McNeilage days after an emergency meeting of the SSP forced him to quit as the party's convener as the row about his private life erupted.

    The trial, which began in July, was still some time away. But the issues raised in court are already on his mind.

    On the tape, Sheridan is seen walking in front of the camera before sitting down. He can then be heard clearly talking to McNeilage.

    His damning words can be read in the transcript. But amongst the most serious threats to his marriage and his future freedom is the cynical way he uses columnist Anvar Khan.

    Sheridan tells how SSP policy chief Alan McCombes called him in October 2004 as soon as McCombes had seen the revelations from Anvar's book Pretty Wild printed in our paper.

    In our story, which did not identify the politician, Anvar, 39, admitted having an affair with an unmarried MSP and visiting a swingers' club with him. In the book, her lover's identity is hidden behind false details — and when it was suggested in court that Sheridan was that man, he said with bravado: "That's a downright lie."


    Yet on the tape, Sheridan explains: "Alan (McCombes) comes on the phone saying, ‘Is this you?' I said, ‘Of course it is'."

    Sheridan then carefully calculates that a public ‘confession' that he had slept with Khan BEFORE starting his relationship with wife Gail would help him to cover up allegations that the relationship carried on AFTER the marriage.

    He says on the video: "There's been a few sessions...which is in certain respects my saving grace because if there's any story about what she knows about my personal habits or if she knows about I've got a hairy back or a hairy a**e, of course she does because she f***ing sha**ed me and I've admitted that.

    "That's out in the open. That's a matter of public record."

    The admission will stun Sheridan's wife. Gail was a potent force in the courtroom and drew smiles from the jury when Sheridan asked her if she would have given evidence if she believed the accusations against him.

    Gail replied: "There's no way I'd be here. Neither would you.

    "You'd be in the Clyde with a piece of concrete tied round you and I'd be in court for your murder."

    Millions of TV viewers will remember her by his side as he strode out of court, punching the air and crowing to his army of supporters.

    In court, Sheridan also denied having a series of steamy romps with former escort girl Fiona McGuire, and insisted that he had NOT been unfaithful to ex-air hostess Gail with party activist Katrine Trolle.

    And central to the case was, of course, his denial that he had ever admitted visiting Cupids to his party's executive committee.


    Indeed, 11 members of the party who were there that night — and testified in court that he had confessed — were made to sound like liars as Sheridan conducted a bravura performance of deceit.

    But explaining to McNeilage how he was called to the meeting, Sheridan says unguardedly: "I then make the biggest mistake of my life by confessing something in front of 19 f***ers...what am I doing confessing in front of these c***s?"

    The MSP also told McNeilage that he was angry about former pal Keith Baldassara's refusal to contact him as details of his sordid private life began to emerge. He said: "I love Keith to bits and he's not phoned me once."

    McNeilage responded: "I think he's p****d off, Tam. Do you know how? I think he's p****d off because everything's now all surfacing, everything's now all surfacing that we f*****g warned you about f*****g years ago, right?" Sheridan answers: "Fine fine."

    Last night McNeilage told us: "I recorded the tape as Tommy was already starting to spin the truth about what really happened at the SSP meeting on November 9, 2004.

    "I grew up with Tommy, went on picket lines with him, was arrested with him at demos. But he's ended up betraying everyone."

    He added: "People need to know the truth about Tommy."

    When we confronted Sheridan at his Glasgow home last night, he raged: "You're liars and everyone knows you're liars."

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    BETRAYED: MI6 left Brit spook to be tortured

    A British secret agent abandoned by his MI6 spymasters to be tortured by the Taliban has lived to tell his incredible tale, only to the News of the World.

    From his recruitment, through a series of body-littered missions to his eventual betrayal by a sinister henchman and his arrest and torture, Colin Berry relives his incredible story at machine-gun pace in his new book.

    Our man Dan Evans picks up the smoking cartridges of a truly terrifying tale...

    BRITISH secret agent Colin Berry squeezed the trigger of his 9mm Makarov as an Afghan bullet thudded into him, slamming him backwards on to the hotel bed.

    Eight shots exploded from his pistol. And as the last spent cartridge clattered on to the floor amid a haze of cordite, the wounded MI6 spy knew it was time to escape from hell.

    In Berry's room lay two dead Afghan chemical weapons dealers who had come to kill him—his cover blown after daredevil missions in which he:

    STOPPED missiles from falling into the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists planning to shoot down jumbo jets

    RISKED his life to locate Taliban fighters and arsenals—ending up in a terrifying mountain gun battle, and

    TRAINED a force of Afghans to fight the Taliban—only to find them all beheaded after they set off on a mission.

    But what Berry didn't know as he sat phoning for help while trying to stem the blood from his wounded side was that his masters in London were to betray him—and leave him to be tortured for SIX MONTHS in a Kabul jail.

    "I was the perfect deniable agent for them," says Berry, 37. "They recruited me, told me I was doing work of national importance—and then dropped me in the s***."

    Former Queen's Regiment soldier Berry says he was approached by MI6 in 2002 as he ran an engineering firm exporting housing to Afghanistan.

    Spooks believed his job was perfect cover. Both they and the CIA wanted him to work with sinister Greek-Cypriot arms dealer Nikkos Nikolaides who had been caught plotting against British forces in Cyprus and turned double agent.

    "We were told to get into the market and buy up systems like Stinger and Blowpipe (missiles) which the west had sold to the Mujahideen to down helicopters in the war against the Soviets," says Berry.

    "Now we wanted them back before al-Qaeda got them." Nikolaides got the ball rolling soon after Berry arrived in Kabul.

    "Colin, my friend, we're going to see a man about a missile," he said. An Afghan colonel handed it over near an art gallery. After Berry inspected the Stinger the man was given $300,000 in notes.

    "This first buy established a pattern," says Berry. "The word went out about Nikos and me and we recovered eight Stingers, 25 Blowpipes, 20 Russian SA-7 Strela missiles and 30 RPG-18 anti-tank weapons."

    Soon he was given more dangerous work. In December, 2002, he completed a nine-hour mission into the mountains to locate the exact GPS position of a secret al-Qaeda cell.

    Then MI6 sent him to find a remote mountain pass being used by al-Qaeda to traffic raw opium. He had to flee an ambush by mountain bandits to get his valuable information back.

    His next assignment was checking out a tunnel with a Scud missile hidden in it. Berry posed as an aid worker to get into the village guarding the tunnel entrance.

    After getting the evidence he wanted at dead of night he and his guide Karsi left the next morning, only to be followed by two 4x4s packed with Kalashnikov-toting rebels who opened up.

    "I shouted to Karsi, ‘We're going to have to take them out'. Then I leaned back and pulled out an AK-47 I had hidden under a blanket," says Berry.

    He raced ahead and pulled off the road behind a rocky outcrop, leaping from the vehicle with his gun.

    "As they came around the bend I let rip a long burst straight through the windscreen. As the 4x4 careered across the road I followed it with three to four bursts. It went into the ravine.

    "The second car braked and I turned and raked it. Karsi and I looked in. All there was was smoke and burst raw innards. We pushed it into the ravine."

    Berry was then approached by an Afghan general to train 20 of his men to cross into Pakistan and spy on an al-Qaeda HQ there. He kept the work at a mountain camp secret from Nikolaides who he had begun to suspect was double-crossing him.

    Berry got close to the group's leader, Walheed. He had felt a fatherly worry for them all as he sent them towards the Pakistan border.

    But when he lost radio contact with Walheed, he and Karsi knew something was wrong and set out to find them. "When I saw the vultures hovering my heart sank," he says. They found all 20 beheaded.

    "Walheed had not had an easy death. He had been tortured and burned. The bottoms of his feet had been beaten," says Berry. The furious Afghan general blamed Nikolaides and the CIA.

    If Berry had doubts that he was being double-crossed, they disappeared when two Afghan warlords, Sherjhan and Husseini, pulled guns on him as they met him at his room at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel in February 2003 to sell him a chemical called Yellow Rain.

    "I lunged forward and hit Husseini hard but his gun went off as he fell backwards into a chair and it felt as if something had been pulled backwards out of my side," says Berry.

    "As I fell into the bed I pulled out my pistol and thought, f*** you—and shot Sherjhan first three times in the chest then Husseini three times as he got back up and tried to shoot me again. I finished him off with a bullet through the head."

    Berry knew the game was up. CIA agents got him to hospital from where he expected MI6 to spirit him back home.

    But instead he was arrested by local police, dragged in pain to their HQ and accused of being a spy.


    Days later in a dingy room he had electrodes attached to his feet. "Admit you're an American spy," snapped the sinister general interrogating him.

    "I shouted ‘I'm not... F***!' The pain as the current went through me was excruciating," says Berry. His torture went on for six months during which he was caged in a dark 4ft by 8ft cell with an earth floor and no bed or toilet.

    When he attacked an officer and tried to escape, he was kicked to a pulp by other guards and then whipped across the back with a metal cable.

    "I don't know how long this beating went on, but I lost consciousness," says Berry. He was so badly beaten he ended up in hospital where, at last, British Embassy officials visited him.

    A deal was done with the Afghanistan government and Berry was released. His role has never been acknowledged by MI6.

    "I'm not James Bond, but I depended on the people I was working for to come and get me out before things got too bad," says Berry.

    "They didn't. The missions were real—but the back-up wasn't. And I paid for it."

    Deniable Agent, published by Mainstream on October 5, can be ordered from the News of the World Bookshop for £16.19 with free delivery by calling 0870 162 5005. RRP is £17.99.