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Legendary journalist Harry Chapman Pincher dies at 100

By Cahal Milmo

Harry Chapman Pincher, the journalist whose prodigious knack for uncovering the secrets of the British State struck fear into Prime Ministers and made him the envy of his Fleet Street peers for six decades, has died aged "100 and a quarter".

The former Daily Express investigative reporter, who was best known for his work to expose the full extent of Soviet penetration of MI5 and MI6, had suffered a minor stroke in recent weeks but died of "old age", his family said.

Mr Pincher's son Michael said his father had died on Tuesday and remained until the end unbowed by a lifetime of duelling – and dining – with the British Establishment in the name of getting stories. In a posting on his Facebook page, Michael Pincher said: "Our dad, Chapman Pincher (The Lone Wolf of Fleet Street) facing death with: no regrets, no fear and no expectation, died of old age on 5 August 2014 aged hundred-and-a-quarter."

Describing his father as a "journalist, author, fisherman, shot and scourge of politicians of all hues", his son said his father had made a final joke shortly before his death: "Tell them I'm out of scoops."

The prodigiously talented reporter, whose contacts ranged from Lord Louis Mountbatten while he was chief of the defence staff to the hotelier Charles Forte, helped to maintain the Express's then position as Britain's best-selling newspaper as its defence, science and medical editor. He retired after 30 years in 1979 to write books and novels.

His most controversial book –Their Trade Is Treachery – argued in 1981 that former MI5 head Sir Roger Hollis had been a Soviet spy and infuriated then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by cataloguing the apparent blunders of the security service. His efforts to unmask Soviet agents, including the Cambridge Five, earned him his 'Lone Wolf' moniker.

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