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Night I found out my flatmate was accused of spying

A university student has told of her complete shock after her flatmate was arrested for allegedly trying to sell secret intelligence files for £2m.

US citizen Kimberly Peterson (27) said she had no idea that quietly spoken Daniel Houghton used to work for MI6.

He appeared in court yesterday accused of stealing secret files from MI5 and attempting to sell them to a foreign intelligence service.

Speaking at the £250,000 ex-council flat they shared in Hoxton, north London, Miss Peterson said Houghton told her he worked for Lloyds Bank as a graduate trainee.

She said: “It's been an unbelievable few days. I arrived at the flat block on Monday night after meeting a friend and was greeted by a man who said ‘are you Kimberly?'

“When we got inside he showed me his Metropolitan Police ID and said he was counter-terrorism. There were five officers searching through our flat. They have taken our computers and memory sticks.

“My family back home in Seattle are terrified. They wanted me to jump straight on the first flight home.

“I had no idea he had worked for MI6.

“We got on but we weren't close. He was quiet but friendly. There was nothing that would have raised any suspicion.

“I have been phoning the police all day to see if I can get my computer equipment back.

“I was unsure if I needed a solicitor but have contacted the US embassy.

“It feels like I am in my own episode of Law And Order.”

A next door neighbour at the brown-brick block said eight police officers in “smart Marks & Spencer suits” and gloves raided the flat at 7pm on Monday.

Housewife Georgette Cabero (41) said: “There was such a commotion. It was very frightening.

“They made a huge noise searching, you could hear things being ripped off the walls.

“Then officers went outside and took pictures of a mauve Honda Civic.”

Houghton appeared in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday to face a charge of theft and breaching the Official Secrets Act.

He is accused of stealing electronic files containing techniques for intelligence collection from MI5 and then disclosing them illegally.

The graduate worked for the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, between September 2007 and May last year.

He was arrested at a central London hotel on Monday after an undercover operation involving Scotland Yard detectives and security service agents.

Houghton, who holds British and Dutch nationality, was remanded in custody and ordered to appear at the same court on March 11.

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