Sarah Hampton has become the latest woman abused by undercover police to secure an apology in the fallout from the spycops inquiry.
Sarah is the eighth person to have received a formal “sorry” from the Metropolitan police for the actions of their officers, who repeatedly deceived women into beginning relationships while infiltrating activist groups in the 2000s while working for the shadowy National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
Despite being outed by activists and later by the newspapers, it wasn’t until 2015, after strenuous efforts at obfuscation, that the Metropolitan Police finally apologised to seven women deceived into relationships by undercover officers. Three of the women in the group had relationships with Mark Kennedy. But even after the other admissions, the Met refused to settle a claim from Sarah, pictured above with Kennedy.
Hampton is a US citizen who met Kennedy whilst on holiday in Ireland in 2005. She subsequently went onto have a one year relationship with the man she knew as Mark Stone without any idea of his true identity.
Having substantially dragged out her case the police have, at last, run out of excuses, caved in and apologised. As with the other women, the Met compounded their abuse by subjecting Hampton to a gruelling legal battle to try to avoid accountability and then had the gall to pay tribute to her tenacity in their apology.
Sarah issued this statement:
Love is one of the most sacred things we have in our society and I fell in love with Mark Stone. He was supportive, attentive and generous, he behaved like he was in love with me. It tortures me knowing he was paid to be with me and because it was such a loving relationship, it was so devastating to find out it was all a lie.
I have wondered so many times if his superiors have kids; what would they think if their daughters were preyed upon like this? I have so much anger inside about this crime against me and it is only exacerbated by the fact that a government institution that is there to protect me is responsible. How do you trust men after this? How do you trust government?
Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I almost gave up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary. I didn’t know how was I going to stand up to the Metropolitan Police Force. I felt I had been raped, I never consented to sleeping with a police officer.
I kept on fighting the case, using my life as an example of what should never happen to anyone.
No one should ever be under any circumstance coerced, invaded, violated and deceived by an undercover police officer through sexual relationships. Despite the apology I have many unanswered questions. I have not received the files the police have on me. I want to know to what extent my private life has been invaded by the UK police force and what justification is there for it?
Who gave permission for a British undercover officer to form and have
a relationship with a US national in Ireland, in the UK, in Scotland and in Spain?
The police have now apologised to me, saying that the relationship between Mark Kennedy and I was wrong, deceitful, manipulative and abusive, that it should never have happened. That it was an abuse of police power and a violation of my human rights
It is our responsibility now to make sure that this never happens again. We are continuing to fight for the truth to be revealed in the undercover policing inquiry, but it is currently only looking at events in England and Wales. My experience shows that the inquiry must be extended to include in Scotland, Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and other countries where we know Mark Kennedy and many other undercover police officers were active.
The Police and government are supposed to be here to serve the people and they need to be held responsible when negligent and violating human rights.
Spycops in Northern Ireland?
In related news, NPOIU has also been exposed as having involved itself in Northern Irish protests and activism, potentially being linked to two murders. Talking in Belfast’s High Court, Ben Emmerson QC said:
There is sufficient connection to two murders in Northern Ireland for there to be a need to notify the families of the involvement of undercover officers … We now know that there was an extensive operation taking place in Northern Ireland without any supervision at all.
Northern Ireland has been excluded from the ongoing Pitchford Inquiry into undercover surveillance, something which Emmerson heavily criticised yesterday:
This is is serious stuff. We simply don’t know whether there may be individuals serving prison sentences in Northern Ireland who were the subject of false evidence or agent provocateur. The brass monkey attitude from two secretary of states is that it is better to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil – just turn a blind eye.
Adapted from a report by the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance