Diana inquest: MI6 'plotted tunnel murder'By Nick Allen
Feb. 14, 2008
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MI6 plotted to murder Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in a staged car accident in a tunnel five years before Diana, Princess of Wales died in a similar crash, a renegade former spy has told the inquest into her death.
Richard Tomlinson, who worked for MI6 in the early 1990s, told the High Court he had seen a two page document, drawn up in 1992, detailing three plans to kill Mr Milosevic.
The first involved using a Serb opposition paramilitary group, which was regarded as being the most “deniable” method.
The second involved using the “increment” – a small group from the SAS or SBS – to infiltrate Serbia and kill Mr Milosevic using a bomb or sniper ambush.
A third plan was to use a strobe light to blind Mr Milosevic’s chauffeur as his cavalcade passed through a motorway tunnel during peace talks in Geneva.
Mr Tomlinson said the plan was shown to him by a senior MI6 officer referred to as “A” who argued that a crash in a tunnel would mean fewer witnesses and a greater chance it would be fatal.
The former MI6 officer also said he had been shown a strobe light by members of the SBS during his training in Poole, Dorset.
He was told that the equipment, which was portable, was intended for blinding enemy helicopter pilots as they tried to land at night.
Mr Tomlinson gave evidence on a video link from Marseilles.
He was called as a witness to the inquest after he told a French magistrate that the Paris car crash which killed the Princess, Dodi Fayed and chauffeur Henri Paul on Aug 31, 1997, bore an “eerie similarity” to an MI6 plot.
He told the inquest that “A” was a “very ambitious and diligent” MI6 section sub-head, aged in his early 30s.
He is referred to as “Fish” in Lord Stevens’ police inquiry into the crash. Mr Tomlinson said “A” showed him the plan in his office on the 11th floor of Century House.
It gave a justification for murdering Mr Milosevic because of his plans for a greater Serbia, a feared genocide of Albanians in Kosovo and his support for Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader.
The circulation list for the document included the private secretary to the head of MI6. “There was no doubt in my mind that A was entirely serious about his plan,” Mr Tomlinson said.
“He was an ambitious and serious officer who would not risk his career by making such a proposal in jest.”
Counsel to the inquest Nicholas Hilliard said “A” had revealed there was a document, written in March 1993, about someone else in the Balkans, not Mr Milosevic, and that it was a “contingency plan”.
The other figure was not named but among the likeliest targets would have been the warlord known as Arkan.
Mr Tomlinson also suggested that Henri Paul was passing information to MI6. When he was reading files on an operation to smuggle weapons out of the Soviet Union he came a across details of an unnamed French security officer at the Ritz Hotel who he later concluded that it was Mr Paul.
“There is no doubt Henri Paul would have been of interest to the intelligence services,” he said.
Mr Tomlinson said MI6 paid many people for information or access on an ad hoc basis including a member of the paparazzi and a barrister.
Mr Tomlinson was recruited by MI6 in 1991 after graduating from Cambridge University with a First Class degree in aeronautical engineering.. He was sacked in 1995 and jailed under the Official Secrets Act in 1997 after passing a proposal for a book to a publisher.
His book The Big Breach was eventually published in Moscow in 2001 and now lives in France.