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Double trouble

Irish man Sean Bourke helped the notorious Soviet double agent George Blake escape from prison, but that was just the start of his problems, writes David Blake Knox

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Tragic end: Sean Bourke died penniless and in the throes of alcoholism in his native Limerick

Tragic end: Sean Bourke died penniless and in the throes of alcoholism in his native Limerick

Soviet spy George Blake, who died on Boxing Day

Soviet spy George Blake, who died on Boxing Day

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Tragic end: Sean Bourke died penniless and in the throes of alcoholism in his native Limerick

The recent death of the notorious Soviet spy George Blake reminded me of a documentary film I made many years ago with Sean Bourke, the Irish man who was responsible for springing Blake from prison.

Bourke had been befriended by Blake when they shared a cell in Wormwood Scrubs. Blake had been a high-ranking officer in MI6 and the information that he passed on to his Soviet handlers had resulted in the deaths of many British agents in eastern Europe.

In 1961 he had been sentenced to 42 years in prison: one year, it was claimed, for every agent who had died as a result of his treachery.


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