By Jonathan Turner and Bob Corcoran, ©1999
DATE: 27 June 1999
SUMMARY: The preliminary report on a deadly encounter in the Pitney Down nuclear reactor, Bristol, UK.
CASE STATUS: Open
TO: Director-General Harcroft, MI5
From: C. Rydell
Re: Pitney Down
CC: PM’s office, DG MI6, G-19, NCIS, UKAEAC.
As discussed, here are the preliminary reports on the attempt to seize Pitney Down reactor. For simplicity, we have split the report into two parts.
The terrorists used a variety of military-grade weapons in the attack. One American-made M60 general-purpose machinegun was set up to cover any approach across Pitney Lake.
Two of the terrorists who scaled the cooling tower had Canadian-made Parker-Hale sniper rifles, equipped with night-vision scopes.
The remainder were armed with a mix of M16 and AK-47 assault rifles and fragmentation grenades. Each had an Israeli-manufactured respirator and commercially available Grade III body armour.
The only link between the weapons is that most of them are relatively old – up to 15 years in some cases. One theory is that they may have originated in a Libyan shipment sent to the IRA in the mid-eighties. How they came to be in the hands of this group is unknown.
Their body armour, however, was brand new. It was stolen from a Du Pont factory in north Wales three weeks ago.
Firstly, it has to be said that perhaps the most startling factor is the apparent lack of connection between the subjects. They were from various parts of the country, yet seemed to know instinctively to make their way to Bristol some time shortly before June 23.
With SIS we have been aggressively following the line that this may have been a group of “sleeper” agents for a foreign government or terrorist group. At the moment, this seems to be the most likely scenario, though we have been unable to pinpoint which group may have initiated the operation.
The suspects were as follows:
- DAVID BAXTER, 26, single; from east London; accountant; driving offences.
- SHARON COLES, 32; married with one son; from Edinburgh; hair-stylist; one assault on record in 1983.
- LESLEY DELVES, 43; married with four children; from Taunton, Somerset; primary school teacher; no criminal record.
- ADRIAN DEMSPEY, 20; single; no fixed address, but well known to police in central London as a vagrant and beggar; criminal record consisting of several related offences.
- JULIAN EDWARDS, 63; married with two children; from Cardiff; retired soldier; no criminal record.
- ROSEMARY GALLAGHER, 27; married, no children; from the Isle of Wight; clerical worker; no criminal record.
- DAVID LEE, 29; single; central London; chef; no criminal record.
- GERARD McKENNA, 32; divorced, three children; Liverpool; labourer; various assaults and drink-related offences stretching back over a decade.
- JULIE PETTIT, 18; single; from Leicester; student; no criminal record.
- JOHN REID, 35; single; from south London; bookshop owner; no criminal record.
- KUKOI SANYANG, 24; single; from Oxford; student; public order offences.
- IAN TONNA, 30; single; from Newcastle; civil servant; no criminal record.
Baxter remains critically ill in hospital; the others were all killed during the operation to clear the reactor.
Investigations by MI5, assisted by Special branch and local police, have so far unearthed no direct connection between any of the suspects. Even those in London appear to have had no opportunity to encounter each other.
Despite this, we have found one unusual factor in the recent behaviour of all the suspects. Friends and family in most cases state that the subjects had a recurring dream since May which had disturbed them deeply.
They would say little to their family except that the dream involved a deep body of water, and something in the water which some said was “calling” to them.
Investigators found sketches and drawings at the homes of Tonna, Pettit, McKenna, Coles and Baxter. After studying the drawings, we are of the opinion that they portray Pitney Lake. While the reactor does no feature in any of the artwork, the surrounding hills and other landmarks make the area unmistakable.
Petitt was the only one who dated her work; the earliest drawing was made on May 24.
On June 25, Metropolitan Police and Special Branch officers investigating an abandoned house used as a squat by Dempsey found a sculpture made out of junk, blood and faeces. The subject seemed to be a squat, almost toad-like creature with human features, surrounded by spines. DNA testing by FSA has confirmed the physical matter was Dempsey’s.
Gallagher left a short note for her family the day she disappeared – June 20. She said the “call” had become “unbearable” and that she had to answer it. None of the others made any final communications to their friends or family.
The only other matter of note arose during Reid’s PM. Dr Carver could find no cause for a massive chest injury suffered by the suspect. In addition, he believes the trauma was several days old, even though it certainly would have killed him instantly.
Sergeant Clark, who led Blue Team into the administration building at Pitney, said during debriefing that Reid was shot several times without any apparent effect – including a three-round burst to the head. He was only finally killed when Trooper McKinney engaged him at close range with his shotgun, decapitating him.
Hope this clarifies matters somewhat, though inevitably it will raise more questions than it answers. I look forward to discussing this further with our opposite numbers in SB and SIS later this week.