Undercover cop Mark Kennedy fears he will be killed
His extraordinary eight years as an undercover officer infiltrating the secret world of Britain's anarchist and eco-activist movements have generated headlines around the world and caused a furious debate over the policing of protest groups.
This weekend Mark Kennedy finally came out of the shadows to tell his own side of the story. In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, Mr Kennedy spoke of his time as the undercover police infiltrator Mark Stone and revealed that he now fears for his life.
“I can't sleep, I have lost weight and am constantly on edge,” he said, speaking from the US.
“I barricade the door at night with chairs. I am in genuine fear for my life. I have been told that my former bosses from the force are out here in America looking for me. I have been told by activists to watch my back.”
But some of those fooled by Mr Kennedy denied yesterday that his life was in danger.
While there was considerable anger at both his deception and the police's use of undercover operatives, they argue that overall the eco-activist community had acted responsibly, deliberately keeping information off web forums that could have been used to track the former police officer.
“Any suggestion that there has been a witch hunt is ludicrous,” said one activist. “I think the response has been very mature.”
On forums used by activists to reveal the identities of two further infiltrators from the police's secretive National Public Intelligence Unit, debate has raged between those who believe Mr Kennedy and his family's whereabouts should be published, and those who try to keep such details secret.
“The fact that he's a scummy b**tard who has no compunction about exposing his kids and ex-partner, doesn't mean we should have done the same, does it?” |argued one commentator.
But there are elements within European anarchist and eco-activist movements who wish harm towards any police infiltrators. Yesterday the Anarchist Black Cross movement in Berlin, a city in which Mr Kennedy is known to have spent time undercover, issued a statement calling on English activists to make the former officer's life “unbearable”.
Mr Kennedy's interview with the Mail on Sunday was the climax of a bidding war between news |organisations to get access to a man who has shone a spotlight on the police's use of undercover operatives to access protest movements.