One woman’s legal battle for the truth about human rights abuses

“I was abused by an undercover police officer who was sent into my life, into my home, into my parents’ home, and into my bed, by the Metropolitan Police.”

Kate Wilson, lifelong social and environmental activist, was deceived into a long-term, intimate relationship by an undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy. She won a Civil Claim against the police and is now taking legal action under human rights legislation. There will be an important hearing in the case on Wednesday 3rd October, with a support demonstration outside beforehand.

The relationship

“I met Mark in 2003 at an open political meeting in Nottingham about mobilising against the G8. He was charming, and we seemed to share a lot of interests. Within about two weeks of that meeting we had started a romantic relationship. He moved into a house with me and some friends, and we lived together for over a year. He visited my parents on many occasions, and he attended my grandmother’s ninetieth birthday. He was my partner in just about everything, for two years, and then we separated, but we remained close friends with him often visiting me right up until 2010.”

In 2010, a friend rang Kate to tell her that Mark had been outed as an undercover officer. The effect this has had on her life has been shattering.

“The impact on your life and relationships is devastating. The psychological damage is deep and long lasting, because of the intrusiveness and the psychological violence of the tactics they use. It is not just the sexual relationships, but the intimacy, the emotional manipulation and the abuse of trust, which is completely inherent to any undercover policing operation. I think the impact of that could be seriously underestimated by anyone who has not been subjected to it.”

Since 2010, Kate has discovered the infiltration was even greater than first suspected . For a period of twelve years, colleagues, house-mates, lovers and casual acquaintances have all turned out to have been undercover police, and all because of her dedication to making environmental and social change. These officers include confirmed undercover officers Jim Boyling (“Jim Sutton”), “Jason Bishop“, “Marco Jacobs“, “Lynn Watson“, “Rod Richardson“, and Mark Kennedy (“Mark Stone”) as well as two men who visited, claiming to be “friends of Mark Stone”, introducing themselves as “Vinny” and “Ed”. Of course, there may be others whose identity is not yet known.

Background on Kates legal battle

In 2015, the police withdrew their their defence against Kate’s civil claims of deceit, assault/battery, misfeasance in public office and negligence, and in 2017 she became one of a growing number of women to receive an apology from the Metropolitan Police for relationships they had with undercover police. Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police finally conceded that “officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong” and that “these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma”.

However, the police continue to lie, obfuscate and obstruct any attempt to gain access to reliable information about the extent of this abuse and the political motivations behind it, or of how far up the chain of command knowledge of these tactics went. Kate and other women are therefore still fighting for the truth, and Kate’s claim has gone into the Human Rights Courts.

Human Rights Claim

Kate’s human rights claim is being heard by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a judicial body, which hears complaints about surveillance by public bodies. She accuses the police of Human Rights violations that include inhumane and degrading treatment at the hands of Mark Kennedy and his supervisors; but which also include being a victim of sexist discrimination by police, and violations of her right to private life, and her political rights to freedom of association and expression, not only by Mark Kennedy, in his time as her partner, but also by at least seven other undercover officers, and by managers and commanding officers right up the chain, over a period of more than 12 years. She is claiming that the police violated her Human Rights under Articles 3, 8, 10, 11 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Ultimately, Kate is seeking the truth about what happened: “I want to see the files, I want them to fill in the gaps about all of those moments where I don’t know what was really happening in my life. I naively believed that the courts could force the police to give us information about that, because the truth is the most important reparation. Instead, what’s happened is that we’ve had the full might of the police legal department and huge amounts of public funds being dedicated to making sure we never get any any information at all

Kate’s claim deals with human rights violations that raise serious questions about the role of senior officers in sexual abuse. “I had a relationship with a man who didn’t exist, but that was supported by a back room team, managers, and superior officers who were making the decisions about that relationship. There were support teams following him around on our holidays, and people listening to our phone calls, and reading our emails. Perhaps they were taking photographs of us together, or even listening to us when I believed we were alone. They knew every detail of my life. I still don’t even know who they were; and it is not just me. These units have been systematically abusing women in this way since 1968

And that amounts to institutional sexism, a fact the police are desperate to cover up.

Kate’s claim questions the legitimacy of such political policing in a democratic society, and the legality of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that is used to authorise such operations.

The case is still in its preliminary stages. The police initially tried to get the case held in secret, but have since been forced to make significant public admissions in their written defence. They were ordered by the court to release secret documents, but in the most part have simply failed to do so.

They are now trying to get the case closed down, saying that if they admit to certain parts of the claim they should not need to release any more evidence. On 3rd October the Tribunal will hear arguments about whether it should give in to this request to limit the hearings. This means the Tribunal would not examine the extent of senior officers’ involvement in the abuse; it would not assess the lawfulness of the involvement of at least seven other undercover police officers in Kate’s life; and it would ignore the issue of whether such intrusion violated the principle that human rights should be enjoyed by all, without discrimination on grounds of sex or political beliefs.

These are all extremely important issues, not only for Kate, but for society as a whole. The case comes at significant personal cost, and this gets worse the longer the Police try to obstruct it. “The police being unbelievably bullying in their response to our cases, and we have had to reveal huge amounts of deeply personal information to the courts and to the police and to the police solicitors. The whole process has been very damaging, constantly pouring salt in the wounds that were created when I found out that Mark in fact didn’t exist.”

Show your support for Kate by attending the hearing and/or the demonstration outside the court.


Call for demonstration as police seek to shut down undercover relationships Human Rights case

  • When? 3rd October 9.30am (before a case hearing which is expected to start at 10.30am) in Court 5
  • Where? Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) located in Fleetbank House, Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX (off Fleet Street, nearest tube Blackfriars)
  • What about? Showing public support for a woman’s fight for the truth and to outlaw the practice of undercover cops deceiving women into intimate relationships
  • Who should come? Anyone who cares about our right to participate in campaigning without fear of abuse by the state

This Human Rights case around undercover relationships is of enormous public interest, and yet the police are trying to shut it down. We need you to be part of demonstrating the public interest in this case continuing.

Kate Wilson is one of the women whose stories of their abusive relationships with undercover police have shocked the nation. She is taking what might be a unique case against the Metropolitan Police concerning the abuse of her human rights when she was deceived into a long term intimate relationship with Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer. A summary of the case is here.

At this court hearing, the Police are trying to get the case closed down to avoid disclosing the full extent of the abuses, and to prevent the Tribunal from examining the legality of the operations, the role of sexism and political persecution in the decisions made, and exactly how many senior commanding officers, knew about it.

Relationships are one of the most profoundly disturbing tools of social control so far unearthed as part of the decades-long activity of undercover units. It is essential that the Police are forced to reveal the full truth of what happened, and be held account for it. This would enable people to participate in social and environmental justice campaigning without fear of further such abuse. The public need to be reassured that the legality of the operations is being examined so the legal framework around undercover policing can be corrected.

Public outrage at the treatment of women at the hands of the police has meant that they have not been able to sweep these cases under the carpet, and it is essential that we continue to show the public interest in these brave women holding the state to account.

Come to the demo to show your support! Come into the court hearing itself at 10.30am, and show the Judge the level of public interest. Please let us know if you are intending to sit in court, so we can ensure there is enough space –

If you can’t make it, then make noise on social media – talk about it to your friends, or write to your MP. We must keep up the public pressure and hold the state to account.


What next for the #spycops campaign?

Thanks to Lush and their bold window campaign, tens of thousands of people have now learnt about the #spycops scandal, and the many ways in which these undercover police officers ‘crossed the line’.

Along with the others whose lives were infiltrated, targeted by the #spycops due to their involvement in groups campaigning for change, we are calling for the truth about these abusive, intrusive, political policing units to be uncovered.

Continue reading “What next for the #spycops campaign?”


Lush has taken the critics by surprise

Today, the Lush campaign returns to shop windows across the U.K.

The decision to suspend the window campaign last Friday was made by Lush, for the safety and well-being of their staff. In some stores, they had been subjected to aggressive behaviour and verbal attacks from angry critics. Like other #spycops campaigners, we condemn the bullying and harassment of people in their work-places.

As we and Lush have been saying ever since Friday, “the conversation continues” – we are campaigning as hard as ever, and have been boosted by all the public support that we’ve received.

The manufactured ‘controversy’ led to Lush’s latest window campaign becoming front-page news, and many more people learning about the shocking #spycops scandal for the very first time.

Continue reading “Lush has taken the critics by surprise”


Letters about the Lush campaign

We want the truth

We are victims of what has become known as the “spycops” operation, and their legal representatives and supporters.
In many of these secret undercover operations the police have admitted to violation of human rights, abuse of police powers and causing significant trauma, including inhuman and degrading treatment breaching article 3 of the European convention of human rights.
We are pressing for the current public inquiry into undercover policing to ensure that there is full disclosure of what took place, including who was targeted, by whom and how.
Without this full disclosure there is no way of knowing the full extent of what happened during the dark years of this secret policing operation.
The cosmetics retailer Lush has used its facilities to help us as victims press for full disclosure and reform so that this never happens again. This is not an attack on police; it serves to help all those in the police service who wish to uphold the highest standards of policing.
For this we thank Lush for its support. We condemn those who have misrepresented Lush and our campaign and especially those who have sought to intimidate Lush staff.


Continue reading “Letters about the Lush campaign”


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