Person interviewed: Michael John Smith
Place of interview: Paddington Green Police Station
Date of interview: 11th August 1992
Time commenced: 10:26 Time concluded: 10:54
Other persons present: Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod
Detective Sergeant Stephen John Beels
Richard Jefferies (Duty Solicitor)
Beels: This interview is being tape-recorded. I am Detective Sergeant Stephen Beels, New Scotland Yard, Special Branch. The other officer with me is Ö
MacLeod: I am Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod, Special Branch, at New Scotland Yard.
Beels: And you are sir Ö
Smith: Mr Michael Smith.
Beels: And you are sir Ö
Jefferies: Richard Jefferies, solicitor from Tuckers Solicitors.
Beels: We are in Interview Room No 2 at Paddington Green Police Station. At the end of this interview I will give you a form explaining the rights of access to a copy of the tape. The date is the 11th August, 1992, the time is 10:26 am. Mr Smith, you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?
Smith: Yes. I understand.
Beels: Do you agree that the tapes were unsealed in your presence?
MacLeod: Mr Smith, I would like you, to the best of your ability, to give me an account of your movements, from a week last Sunday, through to the time that you were arrested on Saturday. If you, just take your time, and just ...?
Smith: A week last Sunday?
MacLeod: A week last Sunday, yes. What Ö?
Smith: Sorry, I am trying to think of the date. What was the date on, are we talking about the beginning of August?
Smith: Yes, Sunday. Well, I was on holiday. I mean, I canít actually remember what I was doing on Sunday. Is Sunday the important day?
MacLeod: Well, I would like to begin by starting on the Sunday.
Smith: Iím not being silent because Iím holding back. Iím just trying to remember.
MacLeod: Yes, well, I said I can understand, take your time.
Smith: I can remember - if we go back just one day - the Saturday, I went to a Spanish restaurant with my wife. We left before midnight.
Beels: Which restaurant was that?
Smith: This was a restaurant called "Salvadorís", in Fulham, Park Walk. We got back, I think we stayed till, very early on Sunday, I think we were probably still up. We watched a film on TV, I canít remember exactly, but I think Sunday, I would have, probably have had a lie in.
MacLeod: All day?
Smith: No, no, no. We sometimes lie in until noon, you know, unfortunately.
MacLeod: And what would your routine have been?
Smith: A Sunday, I usually donít do very much. Some Sundays I donít even go out at all.
Smith: This particular Sunday, because itís so blank, I think I perhaps, I just watched TV. I probably did something at home, and I know I had some letters to write for job
interviews, and that sort of thing. Maybe I was doing that, I really canít remember.
MacLeod: Ok. Well, how about Monday then?
Smith: On Monday, I believe, I went to my bank to pay my redundancy cheque. I think thatís what I did on Monday.
MacLeod: In the morning or the afternoon?
Smith: I think it was in the afternoon.
MacLeod: What did you do in the morning?
Smith: God, itís difficult to remember. In the morning I ... Do you know, I canít remember. I was on holiday, I was taking it very casually. I was just pottering about and not doing very much, and I, because I was not doing very much, I canít remember it. It was the sort of things I would do any evening, read a magazine, that sort of thing. Itís not Ö
MacLeod: Did you, did you leave the house, did you visit anywhere.
Smith: On the Monday? Well, as I say, the only thing I remember doing, or I think I did on the Monday, was I had to pay a cheque into the bank, which was for my redundancy payment. I was anxious to get that down there as soon as possible, so it would go in.
MacLeod: Right. So that would show up in your account?
Smith: I might have gone, I think there was something I wanted to buy on Monday. There was a magazine that Iíve, I usually buy, but I find it very difficult to obtain. I keep an eye open, a magazine called ďKeyboardĒ, which is for music enthusiasts. It only comes out, I think itís the first week in, itís an American magazine, it only comes out about the first week in the month. I nearly always seem to miss it. I have a great deal of trouble obtaining it.
MacLeod: Did you buy it locally?
Smith: No, I didnít. W.H. Smithís is the only place I could buy it. It wasnít there, so I presumed it hadnít been issued. I think thatís what I was doing on Monday, in the way of shopping.
MacLeod: Did you make any visits, any trips anywhere?
Smith: Trips? On the Monday?
MacLeod: Not trips, but did you leave the vicinity?
Smith: Well, I would have gone to Kingston, to the town centre. I donít believe I went anywhere apart from Kingston town centre.
MacLeod: Right. Can you remember what you did on Tuesday then?
Smith: Itís really grey. It might sound dreadful on the tape, but it is extremely grey as to what I did early part of last week. I had a P45, which I, I know I had to send to my, the people I should be starting with, the Lab Staff Agency. I may have posted that on the Tuesday. I canít be very precise about this. I know certain things that I did do last week, but I canít remember when I did them, or at what times.
MacLeod: So, for Tuesday, you canít be any more, sort of, ...?
Smith: Itís very vague, Iím sorry.
MacLeod: Ok. Well. Letís try Wednesday then. Can you remember what you did on Wednesday?
Smith: In fact, Iím more sure of what my wife did, I think, than I, I am of what I did. I know she, she had a visit to the dentist, I think, on Tuesday. Um.
MacLeod: Well, if you can remember what your wife was doing, you must have some recollection of what you were doing.
Smith: It might sound dreadful, I know it does, but if I was doing anything concrete, I think I would remember it. But, Iím not sure if itís Wednesday, I know I had to adjust the clutch on my car, before I was driving down to Basingstoke on Thursday. I think thatís the only thing I can remember, I might have done on Wednesday.
MacLeod: Ok. Right. Did you go out Wednesday evening?
Smith: Wednesday evening. Itís possible. One night last week, my wife and I went to an Indian restaurant. It may have been the Wednesday, I think it was the Wednesday, actually.
Beels: Was that local to where you live?
Smith: Yes, itís a place called the Akbar, in Richmond Road, which we visit from time to time. Itís quite a quiet Indian restaurant.
MacLeod: And you would walk there, would you? Itís walking distance?
Smith: Yeah, we walked there, yes.
MacLeod: Ok. Right. So, Thursday then, what did you do on Thursday?
Smith: Thursday I drove down to Basingstoke, and attended an Induction Course.
Beels: What time of day? What time did you get up, what time did you leave?
Smith: Well, I left quite early, about half past seven I think. Maybe it could have been even earlier than that. But, no, it was seven forty, because it was a bit later than I should have left.
MacLeod: And what time did you arrive at Basingstoke?
Smith: I arrived there about eight forty five, I think.
MacLeod: That was the time you were expected to?
Smith: I donít know. I think, you know, I was either slightly early or slightly later than I expected. The problem was, I was anticipating a straight run, and for some reason there was a lot of road works there, and I was held up going down the M3, and, er, so I was a bit anxious.
MacLeod: So what time was your appointment for?
Smith: I think it was nine oíclock, but I wasnít quite sure where I was supposed to go, so I thought Iíd better get there a bit earlier.
MacLeod: So was this a group induction, or was it just for you?
Smith: It was a group induction, but I was asked to go there before I was due to start the job, because they were anxious that I understood a bit about their, the way they document their procedures, and the way, the importance of safety and accuracy in the documentation for, for pharmaceutical work, which, obviously there is a patient risk if things arenít right. So they like everybody to do it, I think everybody in the company has to go through this course at sometime or other.
Beels: I see, so it wasnít a course for people who were about to start employment at the company, it was for people who were already in the company.
Beels: And you were invited to go along, as you were starting in the company.
Smith: People already in the company. When Ö
Beels: The other people there, were they in ...?
Smith: Yeah, I think some of the people had been there a few weeks, or months.
Beels: Ö were employees at that time? Yes, Ok.
Smith: And as I hadnít started, and the course was only run for, I think, every couple of months, I believe. They thought, well, if I donít do it now, it would be too late.
Beels: Makes sense.
MacLeod: How many people were on this induction course?
Smith: I believe it was thirteen. I think that was the figure that was mentioned. When I first went there the man said, I think, thereís ten or eleven, but I think, actually, it was a bit more than that.
MacLeod: And can you remember who it was you saw there? The name of the man?
Smith: It was a man called, I think it was Jim Sykes, I think he called himself.
MacLeod: So how long did that induction course last?
Smith: I think it was a bit over an hour and a half. There were a couple of videos, and a bit of talking. There was a slide projector, and an overhead projector, which they discussed at various points with ...
MacLeod: So, the whole thing wound up about what, half past ten? ten? Roughly, you tell me, give us an indication?
Smith: It was just, it was gone half ten, by the time weíd finished.
MacLeod: So what happened after that?
Smith: I hung around about a couple of minutes, because I was going to talk to this man before I left. I thought it might be a good idea. But the people, he obviously knew some people in, on this course, who, one man I donít remember the name of, a man with grey hair who was rather chatty and kept asking questions, and he immediately collared this man. And I couldnít see, I didnít want to hang about. Because I didnít really have anything in particular to say to him, I just wanted to say, ďlook, what do you think my problems might be with, with the documentationĒ, to get a second view on it, because I, I had only heard the story from the man Robby Booth, who would be my superior, my supervisor in my job.
MacLeod: And what type of work would it involve?
Smith: Lilly Industries manufacture pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and drugs of various sorts, and they supply, I think worldwide. So the, well, itís very difficult for me to say, because having not worked there, I am basing it on what I have been told, and what was in the brochure that I was given to read before I went for the interview there.
MacLeod: So, letís go back. So you were there to about, roughly, half past ten. Is that right, or thereabouts?
Smith: A bit later than that. I left there, er, just before eleven, I think.
MacLeod: Right. So where did you go after that?
Smith: I drove back up the M3, and it was a nice day. I think I was a bit, I wasnít, to be honest, I mean, this job, although I have been very anxious about it in the last few days, it was not a job I would have chosen. It was, um, sort of, the only thing that came up at that would keep me employed.
MacLeod: Yes, but I mean, you havenít answered my question.
Smith: No, Iím trying, Iím trying to get to my state of mind when I left there was, well, Ok, I can see what they say. I could see through some of the weaknesses in their system, the way they were discussing it. I thought, well, obviously, this company has a few problems on documentation, and the way they work. Now, I would have loved to have gone down and done a QA role on that job. But they were asking me to
write procedures, which isnít really what Iím good at.
MacLeod: But can we go back to the time, you know, you left there around, for argumentís sake, around eleven oíclock. Weíre not going to be ..
Smith: I left there, it was around that time, yes.
MacLeod: So what did you do after that?
Smith: Well, as I was explaining, with this state of mind, and it being quite a sunny day, I decided to just go for a drive, because I knew my wife was going to be out in the morning. I thought, well, if I rush back, I will only be sitting at home.
MacLeod: So where did you go?
Smith: I decided to go to Harrow town centre, which is near where I used to work.
MacLeod: Where. Sorry?
MacLeod: Harrow town centre?
Smith: The reason I decided Ė as I was saying on Monday, I was trying to get this magazine in Kingston, and I know that in Harrow they have a tremendous pile of these magazines every month because, which never seem to get sold. So I thought, well, if Kingston hasnít got it,
because they never seem to have it in W.H. Smithís in Kingston. I see it, may be 2 or 3 copies there, and theyíre snatched up immediately, whereas Harrow always seem to have - thereís a W.H. Smithís in Harrow - always seem to have too many, so I thought, well, perhaps Iíll go there and ...
MacLeod: Did you find what you were looking for?
Smith: No, unfortunately. May be it hasnít been issued in the last ...
MacLeod: So you came back up, if you can just tell me the route you took to Harrow?
Smith: To where?
MacLeod: To Harrow. To Harrow town centre.
Smith: To Harrow. I went down the M3. I was going down the M3, and I saw all the traffic queued up going the other way, and I thought, God, you know, this is going to be difficult next week. And I was going quite slowly, I wasnít speeding, wasnít doing seventy, and I seem to remember following a truck, or something, for a long time, just day dreaming.
MacLeod: Yeah, but you must have known what route you took?
Smith: Well, no. I was saying, I was going down the M3, and I think I just, for some reason, followed this truck off up the M25. But I knew it was going roughly the right way. I thought, well, maybe I could go some other route.
MacLeod: So, can I get it clear, what route you did take. Did you, are you saying the M25?
Smith: I went up the M25. Yes, thatís right.
MacLeod: Where did you turn off the M25?
Smith: I donít remember the number, of the road. It was near Rickmansworth, I think.
MacLeod: The Rickmansworth turn off?
Smith: I donít know, er, because I donít know the M25 very well. I was just driving.
MacLeod: Let me ask you, travelling North on the M25, clockwise direction. You came up the M3, turned onto the M25. The first junction is the M4.
Smith: Thatís correct. Iíve used that before.
MacLeod: So you didnít come off there?
Smith: No. Maybe thatís the one, I, um, I intended to come off at. The thing is, I didnít have my map with me.
MacLeod: But you must remember. Did you come off at that junction?
Smith: No, I didnít, no. Certainly, I mean.
MacLeod: Then, the next junction is the junction with the M40, Oxford.
Smith: Yeah, I remember the M40.
MacLeod: Did you come off there?
Smith: No, no, not the M40
MacLeod: So, the next junction was the junction, a smaller junction, off to Chorleywood. Did you take that junction?
MacLeod: Yeah. Itís the one before the Rickmansworth turn off.
Smith: I donít remember the name Chorleywood, no.
MacLeod: So you reckon you turned?
Smith: I know I was near Rickmansworth, thatís all I can remember.
MacLeod: So, for the purpose of this discussion ...
Smith: Junction numbers donít really mean ...
MacLeod: Iím not interested in the numbers, but just the general locality. But for the purpose of the answer to this question, you, you to the best of your knowledge, you believe you came off at the Rickmansworth junction.
Smith: I know I, well, if Rickmansworth, if there is only one junction there?
MacLeod: Yeah there is.
Smith: Then it must have been that one.
MacLeod: Yeah, there is a junction there. So, can you just talk me through that. Where did you go from there.
Smith: I drove back towards Harrow, and I didnít exactly, as I say, I didnít have my map, and I was only using my sense of direction.
MacLeod: Right. Ok.
Smith: I somehow got towards the Watford, is it Watford Road, or near Bushey, somewhere like that?
Smith: Also, I was quite pleased to be, because, as I say, it was a nice sunny day, and I was quite happy to be driving through, watching the little villages, places I donít think Iíd ever been to before.
MacLeod: Did you, did you stop off on the way to Harrow?
Smith: No, not at all.
MacLeod: You didnít stop off for refreshments, or Ö?
Smith: I think I was thirsty, I believe, but I donít think I stopped off, no. No, Iím sure I didnít stop off.
MacLeod: So, do I take it then, that you just, you drove directly from Basingstoke to Harrow town centre? You came up the M3, onto the M25, to the Rickmansworth turn off, and you followed that road directly back to Harrow?
MacLeod: Ok. So, roughly what time would that have been?
Smith: I didnít actually check the time, I just sort of estimating it, it must have been about, between half eleven and twelve, I guess. Yeah.
MacLeod: Right. So where did you park your car in Harrow?
Smith: In Harrow. I parked it just on the edge of the town.
MacLeod: On the edge of the town. Can you give me a better sort of idea?
Smith: I donít know the name of the road. I mean, itís just a road I, I park in from time to time, because itís easy to get in and out of, without going through the town centre.
Beels: Were there any landmarks? Anything that you can think, that you know, a cinema, Town Hall, or something nearby that you know?
Smith: No, itís just, itís just one of the roads.
MacLeod: So you parked in a side street.
Smith: Yes, a side street, yes.
MacLeod: So, now I take it, you followed the main road from Rickmansworth to Harrow. I believe itís, it may be the A404, you followed that route into Harrow?
Smith: Part of the way, I remember the 404 was part of the way, I didnít go on the 404 all the way.
MacLeod: Right, anyway. So you went into Harrow, and you parked in a side street near Harrow town centre. Right. Just talk me through from there. How long did it take you to walk from the side street?
Smith: To where?
MacLeod: To, into Harrow town centre.
Smith: It might have been ten or fifteen minutes. I wasnít in any particular rush. And it was hot, so I just took my time.
MacLeod: So you went directly to W.H. Smithís?
Smith: More or less, I think, yes. Yeah, I might have looked in a shop window. I canít remember.
MacLeod: Yeah, but the purpose of your visit there, was to go to the W. H. Smithís and ...
Smith: Well, I suppose it was, and it wasnít. I tend to drive miles out of my way, just to go and visit a shop sometimes. I know it might sound stupid, but, er ...
MacLeod: Whereabouts is W.H. Smithís in Harrow?
Smith: Itís in the centre. Thereís a big shopping centre there.
MacLeod: Right. Ok. So you didnít find the magazine that you were looking for. So what happened after that? Did you make any other purchases?
Smith: I bought some newspapers.
MacLeod: Where did you go from there?
Smith: I walked back to my car.
MacLeod: So you made a trip from Basingstoke to Harrow to find a magazine?
Smith: I wouldnít say the reason. If I had bought the magazine on Monday, I donít think I would have gone there, to be honest.
MacLeod: Well, obviously not. I mean, that was the purpose of your visit.
Smith: Right. The, I think the reason I went to Harrow, it probably was nostalgia, actually. Because, when you think, it was only a week before I had been working nearby, and I do visit Harrow from time to time in the day, for shopping.
MacLeod: So, would it be reasonable to say, that you know that area reasonably well
Smith: No, I donít know it that well. I know the centre. I sometimes go into the car park in the centre, sometimes I park outside. There is, I went in about 2 weeks ago with my immediate boss in Hirst Research Centre, because he wanted to buy something and I was, maybe I was looking for the magazine then, as well. I canít remember. We went to the centre together, and walked around together, and went into a bookshop, and, as I say, it is a place I go.
MacLeod: From time to time?
Smith: From time to time. Iíd say almost every month.
MacLeod: Almost every month. So you know reasonably well.
Smith: Well, the places I go and visit. I donít know all the layout of Harrow, because I donít live there.
MacLeod: No, no, but you have a reasonable knowledge of the geography of Harrow?
Smith: Well, I know where thereís particular shops that I frequent. Thereís a Hi-Fi shop that I visited once, a bookshop that I went to, when I was looking for a particular book on management.
MacLeod: Ok. So you were unable to find, or to buy, the magazine you were looking for. What happened after your visit to W.H. Smith?
Smith: I explained that. It then dawned on me that I had intended, before I left Basingstoke in the morning, that I should have bought the morning papers, because I know Thursdayís a very good day for the job pages, and I was anxious to get applications in as soon as possible, because this 3 monthly job Iíve got is not that long term, it may not even last 3 months. So I am thinking, well, Iíve got to secure a permanent position somewhere, and so I decided Iíd buy the quality papers, that may have jobs that would be suitable for me, and I went to a newsagents there, and bought them.
MacLeod: Did you stop off for a meal?
Smith: Iíve got a feeling I bought something. I canít remember what it was now, something to eat, but, um ...
MacLeod: I mean, you must remember if you stopped off to have a snack, were sitting at ...
Smith: Well, I donít think I would have stopped off to have a snack. I know I was thinking about buying some sandwiches in Marks and Spencers. Whether I did or not, I canít remember.
MacLeod: Did you meet anybody during the time you were there? Did you see anybody you knew?
Smith: No, I didnít see anybody I knew. In fact, I donít think I would have, because they would probably be all at work, the people I knew in the area.
MacLeod: So, itís true to say, you got to know the area because of the fact that you worked in Wembley, which is not too far, itís nearby.
Smith: Itís nearby and Wembley is a very bad shopping centre. Although itís quite large, itís got some of the main shops, it hasnít got a decent bookshop, hasnít got a decent record shop, a bookshop like W.H. Smiths, or I think, itís Hatchards. It hasnít got a decent Hi-Fi shop or music shop, and Harrowís got these sort of things. So, Harrow has more attractions for lunch time shopping than Wembley ever would. I might go to Wembley to use the bank, because I can sometimes walk there. Itís
convenient to just drive down there and park in a side street, but itís not the sort of place that, I donít go so often as I used to, to Wembley. I mean, I found it a boring, sort of, centre.
MacLeod: So, you were unable to buy your magazine. Can you just talk me through. Did you walk back to your car then, or did you browse around the shops?
Smith: Well, I donít remember browsing around the shops. I might have done. If I can reiterate, I mean, I wasnít, I wasnít going there in a very purposeful way, I was going there just to ...
MacLeod: To buy a magazine.
Smith: Well, to buy a magazine was probably the main reason, I was thinking of Harrow, because I know they have them in Harrow, and I found them there before. The, probably the main reason I was dilly-dallying, I suppose it was, the main reason was because my wife was doing something that morning, and I felt in no rush to get back, because I thought she wonít be home, so I might as well take my time.
MacLeod: So, can you tell me how long you spent in the general, sort of, area?
Smith: As I say, I must have got to Harrow between eleven thirty and twelve, and I couldnít have been in the area for more than another half an hour, or hour at the most.
MacLeod: So, it was literally to go there to buy a magazine. Unable to buy the magazine, return to car, is that because you ...?
Smith: Well, probably I got some papers. I might have, I was anxious to see if there was anything good in the paper before I went home. I thought, well, if I see something good, Iíll get home and apply straight away.
Smith: I remember spending, it might have been ten minutes, in the car, looking through the job pages of the Telegraph paper, which is the best paper for that.
MacLeod: So, can you tell me, did you drive back home directly?
Smith: I think it was as direct as I could of, from that point, because I was, I went over Harrow Hill I remember, and I went, Iím trying to think of the route, through Greenford.
MacLeod: So you kept that ...
Smith: I came back the normal route I would have come home from Hirst Research Centre.
MacLeod: So, you came over Harrow on the Hill, down the Harrow Road, which it would be, if thatís the route.
Smith: I donít know the name of the road, yes.
MacLeod: And presumably, then you turned right at the traffic lights, down Greenford Road. Is that right? You said you went through Greenford.
Smith: I think it might have been.
Beels: Ok. This tape is coming to an end, so I am just going to switch the machine off before changing tapes. The time is 10:59 am.
Person interviewed: Michael John Smith
Place of interview: Paddington Green Police Station
Date of interview: 11th August 1992
Time commenced: 10:55 Time concluded: 11:24
Other persons present: Detective Superintendent Malcolm MacLeod
Detective Sergeant Stephen John Beels
Richard Jefferies (Duty Solicitor)
Beels: This is continuing interview of Mr Smith. This is the second tape. The time is now 10:55 am. Mr Smith, you are still under caution. Do you understand that?
MacLeod: So you came down the Harrow Road, and you turned right at the traffic lights towards Greenford?
Smith: I think I did, but to be honest, I donít remember exactly the route I was taking. I was just following ...
MacLeod: Were you in the car?
Smith: Ö the car was driving itself virtually. I was ...
MacLeod: You know the area reasonably well. Well, you know it well, because you worked in that area.
Smith: Yes, but the fact was I was on auto-pilot ...
MacLeod: But what I am saying is ...
Smith: Ö more or less. I mean, I do the journey so often, em ...
MacLeod: Yes, what I am saying is you didnít go straight on, you didnít go straight ahead at the traffic lights at Greenford Road, which would take you down through Wembley.
Smith: I donít, no I didnít go through Wembley, no.
MacLeod: No, you didnít, so you turned right.
Smith: How did you know I didnít?
Smith: How did you know I didnít. I, I ...
MacLeod: Iím not, Iím asking you, sorry, itís a rhetorical question.
Smith: I donít believe I went through Wembley, Iím sure I didnít go through Wembley.
MacLeod: No. Right. Ok.
Smith: The traffic in Wembley is quite bad at times.
MacLeod: So, where did you go from there then? You turned right back towards Greenford?
Smith: Well, I went through, as I say, I was following my route home, that I would have taken anyway, and I,
I went down the Greenford Road as far as Southall, and, um, Iím trying to think, it goes through Richmond eventually, that. The route I take is a fairly straight route, which goes towards Richmond Bridge, and itís quite a pleasant drive once itís away from the town centres. My main reason, I think, for taking my time, as I was saying, my wife wouldnít be at home, I had time on my hands, and I was quite happy in the sun to be driving around. Itís, driving is something I quite enjoy doing.
MacLeod: Did you stop off on the way home?
Smith: On the way home, I didnít stop off at all, no. I donít remember stopping the car at all, except for traffic lights or junctions.
MacLeod: So, what time did you arrive back at your address?
Smith: My wife had just got home.
Beels: Where had she been, incidentally, where had you wife been incidentally that morning?
Smith: She had an appointment. What was it? I donít know if - Iím getting a bit confused now, as to what days what things happened - either Tuesday or Wednesday she had to go to the dentist. I thought it was Tuesday. She went on Wednesday for some reason Ė then either thatís the dentist, or it was some other reason, but she said she would, she was going - she would know more than I would where she was going. But I remember her telling me, but I donít know where, she went to the hairdresser on one day. I donít think
that was the day, because she stayed late. If I could, if I could come back to that, I probably can remember it, but I am just trying to think what it was that she was doing last week. Do you want enormous silences on the tape?
Beels: No. Ok. Leave it for the moment, weíll come back.
MacLeod: Can you tell me what time you arrived back then?
Smith: Well, as I say, she was just getting back as well, so she couldnít have, perhaps sheíd gone to the Kingston town centre. She had something to do, I know, on Wednesday morning, and she probably wouldnít be back too early, so I, that was the reason I got back I think, it, it must have been in the region of ...
Beels: Thursday morning you mean?
Smith: Thursday morning, yes. It would have been Thursday afternoon by then, I think, either it could have been 1:30 or 2:00, or maybe a bit later.
MacLeod: Ok. So you had that appointment in the morning at Basingstoke. Right.
Smith: Thatís right.
MacLeod: That took you up to about 11 oíclock, and you decided to kill some time, and travelled to Harrow to look for a magazine. You were unsuccessful, and then you drove home.
MacLeod: And what you are saying, is that you didnít stop off and meet anybody?
Smith: I didnít meet anybody at all, nobody I could have said I knew.
Beels: Did you talk to anybody. I mean, strangers asking directions?
Smith: I talked to the newsagent. No, I didnít ask directions. I talked to the newsagent, I was buying the newspapers, but to my recollection I didnít talk to anybody else.
MacLeod: Well, Iím putting it to you, it strikes me as being highly unusual for somebody to travel out of their way, to take such a detour from the direction of your home address to Harrow, to purchase a magazine?
Smith: Well, I say, itís, people might think itís strange. I mean, Iíve driven up to the West End for the Saturday afternoon to look in a couple of shops, and I do that sort of thing quite often. My wife gets quite annoyed with me, for staying out shopping, and, um ...
MacLeod: You met ...
Smith: Because I, my interests take me to shops in the West End, or places where she doesnít want to go, and so we tend to do our own thing on a Saturday, and because we were on holiday, I mean, this was a, it was like a Saturday, as far as
I was concerned.
MacLeod: Youíre not being truthful are you. You met somebody.
Smith: I did not meet anybody. I explained to you, the only person I could have talked to was the newsagent, who sold me the newspapers. I did not meet anybody.
MacLeod: Talk me through Friday.
Smith: Friday was, is quite an easy day to talk about, because the wife and I were, had been planning all week that we would go to the coast one day, and the weather had changed a bit in the middle of the week, and she was a bit upset that we wouldnít be able to go. But we fixed Friday as being the day we would go to the coast. So we drove, do you want me to go through the whole journey?
MacLeod: Well, what time did you leave home.
Smith: We left home quite late, I think, it must have been nearly 12:00 I believe. I remember being annoyed that we were leaving later than I wanted, because I donít like making a late start.
MacLeod: So your wife would account for you being at home that morning?
Smith: Yes. I mean, sheís quite, she takes a long time to get ready in the mornings, and ...
MacLeod: And you spent the day where?
Smith: In a number of places. We drove, well I drove, she didnít like driving when we go out for these pleasure trips, she likes to enjoy it and I have to do the driving. So we drove from Kingston, um ...
MacLeod: Well I donít think that ...
Smith: Well, I can give you the route exactly. We drove from Kingston, we went down Tolworth, followed the road from Tolworth down to Stoneleigh, I think, Epsom way, and then turned off towards the, I think it was the M25. Eventually, I picked up the M23, because I, by being so late, I thought if I go down the motorways we can kill a lot of distance more quickly. So, I did 70 down the M23. We hit some, we hit a lot of traffic, there was a lot of road-works going on the M23, down nearer Brighton than London, and I remember being a bit annoyed that we got stuck there for about 20 minutes or so. My wife will confirm that, I am sure, because we went, I decided to turn off then, because I thought this is taking too long, and we, and not long after that, we went past a pub that had a Freddie Mercury sign outside. So I said, ďwell letís go back thereĒ, because she likes Freddie Mercury and Queen, and she wanted to see if there was anything interesting in the pub.
MacLeod: Before we go any further. Are you telling me then, that your wife can confirm your movements?
Smith: Well we were with ...
MacLeod: You were together all day?
Smith: Ö I was with my wife the whole time, apart from when she went to the loo, yes.
MacLeod: Right. Letís forget Friday then. Letís talk about Saturday, weíve been over this before. Letís talk about the telephone call.
MacLeod: Ok. Right. Talk me through it again.
Smith: The telephone call. It was, I mean, we have it on tape, so I donít suppose it makes much difference discussing the details, because I donít, you know, at the time I didnít get all the details clearly. I heard the telephone call, the telephone rang, my wife picked it up and answered. We know it was a guy called George, who wanted to speak to a Michael Smith. I think he said Michael Smith, or was it Mike Smith, I donít know. I was passed the phone by my wife, I heard this foreign sounding man. I gave a few yes, ok, sort of answers. What do you want to know now?
Smith: Yes, Okís, to what questions?
Smith: He sounded suspicious. He gave me reason to doubt who he was, and the reason for the call. I did mention previously, you didnít seem very interested, that I have had some suspicious encounters around my house in the past, and I was rather concerned who this man might be, and why he was talking to me. I didnít want to alarm my wife, because she can be quite sensitive about things, so I gave her the impression that Iíd known this, I knew this guy from work - but I obviously didnít. I decided I would follow it up, because heís somebody who seemed to know me, and I didnít know him. I only got from, um, to my understanding of what he was saying, the only, the thing I got from it was Cardinal Drive. I didnít, I know now it was Durlston Road, I think it was mentioned, but Cardinal Drive was the thing that I heard, and I thought, I donít know any Cardinal Drive, but I know the Cardinal pub. So, it was just curiosity on my part, I thought, well, Iíll follow this up. So I went out, I went out actually later than the guy had, I think had said, he said 15 minutes, I think. I think it was nearly 20 when I left the house. I wasnít, I wasnít actually looking at the time, and so I thought, well, I probably wonít find out anyway, but I just went in that general direction. I just, sort of, guessed at where it might be.
Smith: There was nothing there. I mean, I was, I just thought well, itís a waste of time.
MacLeod: So you went to that location?
Smith: No, I donít know if I did. I mean, as I say, I thought he said Cardinal Drive, and I didnít find any Cardinal Drive. I did ask somebody in a shop, was there a Cardinal Drive around here, it was in a flower shop on the corner in the Tudor Drive. I asked the man, I said ďdo you know if thereís a Tudor Drive around hereĒ, and he said ďno, I know thereís a, sorry a Cardinal Drive around hereĒ, he said ďno, thereís, itís Cardinal AvenueĒ. I thought well, that canít be right, I mean. I was getting the feeling maybe that it was a hoax, you know, and I couldnít understand it. We have a friend who does play practical jokes on us sometimes and I, he puts on funny accents, he imitates our flamenco dance teacher sometimes, and I just thought, well Iím wasting my time, so I walked back down, I think it was Cardinal Avenue or, and just sat on the wall for a short time ...
Smith: Ö and then came home.
MacLeod: You sat on a wall, where?
Smith: Thereís a sort of triangle of shrubbery and, on the corner of ...
MacLeod: Was that on the route back home?
Smith: It was on, yes it was the shortest route back home.
MacLeod: And why did you go there?
Smith: Because this man seemed to be indicating there was something of concern, you know, and well, I thought it was concern for him, I mean, I didnít think it was me. I thought this man George who knows me, or says he seemed to be saying he knew me, has made me suspicious and curious, and I ...
MacLeod: Did you Ö?
Smith: I donít think I would have been concerned about it, if I hadnít had this suspicious person hanging around the house about 2 weeks earlier. If that hadnít happened I probably would have ignored it, but Iíve been very, I said before, I mean, I was very suspicious when I applied for this job at Ferranti. I thought somebody was watching me, you know, I just had that feeling. I get very, I like to get to the bottom of things. Iíve actually followed people down the road before now, thinking that they were watching my house, and I, maybe I got a bit paranoiac about it. I think it all dates back to 1980, when my phone was being tapped, I made it quite clear to the MoD security people, that I know they were watching me, and Iíve wanted to catch them in the act ever since.
MacLeod: Did you go into the telephone kiosk at the corner of Durlston Road and Cardinal Avenue?
Smith: I must have sat near there, yes.
MacLeod: Near there, did you enter the telephone kiosk?
Smith: I might have done, I canít remember now.
MacLeod: Well, you either did or you didnít, I mean, you can remember?
Smith: Well, maybe I did, I canít remember.
MacLeod: Well, you can remember quite a bit of detail from your activities over the week, surely you can remember if you entered the telephone box?
Smith: Well, it seemed to be of interest to this man, that the telephone box was mentioned. I donít, I didnít know that was the one.
MacLeod: Well, he gave you directions.
Smith: No, he gave me Cardinal Drive, which, I mean, I thought, maybe Cardinal Drive is somewhere else, and I really didnít have a clue that that was the particular location.
MacLeod: So he gave you Cardinal Drive?
Smith: Well, there was nobody there, so obviously George was just playing games with me.
MacLeod: What sort of games?
Smith: As I said before, I think these things are linked. This strange phone call, this suspicious man who was hanging around my house, who I saw for some 2 or 3 minutes doing a circle around the corner of Park Farm Road and Burton Road, looking at the house downstairs, looking at my flat, I noticed him out of the window, and I went from room to room to see who he was, and I couldnít judge that. If this had never happened before, I wouldnít perhaps be suspicious, but I say, this had happened in 1980 and 1985, and maybe in other times as well. Iíve been very suspicious that my home was being watched.
MacLeod: Did it alarm you?
Smith: It didnít alarm me, but it ...
MacLeod: Did you notify the police?
Smith: No, I ...
MacLeod: Did you tell the police?
Smith: No, because I didnít have, they would have laughed at me. What I, the main thing I was trying to get at, I want to find out who these people are.
MacLeod: Right. So that was the reason that you went to this, you followed these instructions on Saturday morning, to go to the telephone box at the corner of Durlston Road and Cardinal Avenue. You wanted to go, although they may have said Cardinal Drive.
Smith: Letís make it, letís make it clear. I did not know that was the particular location I was being directed to.
MacLeod: But thatís what he said on the telephone, surely. You heard it on the tape.
Smith: I may have said that but I only half got, I got the message I was half asleep, remember. I mean, I was just told Ö
MacLeod: But did you go there, or didnít you?
Smith: I did go there, yes.
MacLeod: You did go there. And did you enter the telephone box?
Smith: I must have done.
MacLeod: But why?
Smith: I donít know.
MacLeod: You entered the ...
Smith: Because the telephone box was mentioned, I think. Thatís why I went there. I wasnít looking for anything, I mean, I think ...
MacLeod: Well, why did you enter the telephone box, if that was to be the location for a meeting?
Smith: I think, what I, I may have picked up the phone, thinking about calling my wife.
Smith: I canít remember. I mean, it was, things happened so quickly after that, that I ...
MacLeod: Well, why would you wish to call your wife?
Smith: Because she was about to leave, to go to a back appointment, and I thought, maybe sheís waiting for me to come home, and I didnít want her to worry with ...
MacLeod: So, you rush out of the house to meet a man.
Smith: I didnít rush out of the house.
MacLeod: Well, you left your house very shortly after having received a call, from a man youíd never previously met. You went to the location to meet this man.
Smith: I didnít know I was meeting him. I just, I was curious.
MacLeod: You didnít know you were meeting him? So what did you expect?
Smith: I donít know why people do things. I donít know why I did it.
MacLeod: You donít know why you did it. Ok. So what happened after that. You left the telephone box, and where did you go?
Smith: I followed the same route home. I mean, I didnít, it dawned on me then, that I did want to, I mean, the reason for going for the newspaper was a genuine one, I did want to go, because weíd been at the coast the day before.
MacLeod: Yes, can we just stick to the main point.
Smith: I mean, this is quite important, this, because Iíd missed the Olympics the night before, because Iíd been too tired to stay up, I wanted to get the results.
MacLeod: Yes, but can we just stick to the point I am making. I just want to just get clear in my own mind what your movements were ...
MacLeod: Ö when you left the house, you went to the corner of Durlston Avenue, to this telephone box. Is that right?
Smith: Yes. I am not denying it, no.
MacLeod: Yes, and you entered the telephone box?
Smith: I think I did, yes.
MacLeod: You did, and you didnít make a telephone call.
Smith: I didnít make a telephone call, no.
MacLeod: No. Were you expecting to receive one?
Smith: I donít think so, no. Why should I?
MacLeod: You donít think so. But why enter a telephone box, if you didnít intend to make call.
Smith: Because the telephone box was the only thing that was concrete, that was mentioned, and the name Cardinal Drive, and I thought well ...
Smith: Ö I didnít even know if that was the location that was being indicated, or not. I mean, I am not, um ...
MacLeod: But you went straight there.
Smith: I am not saying I - I had no preconceived ideas when that phone went, as to where this place was - apart from, I had the name Cardinal Drive mentioned, a telephone box - and I didnít, I actually didnít get the name Durlston Road, because the manís accent was so thick, it sounded ...
MacLeod: But you didnít stop to ask him any questions as to the location. You acknowledged the directions with a yes, yes ,yes. You heard it on tape. You knew the location.
Smith: I didnít know the location, no.
MacLeod: Well, you went straight there, did you not?
Smith: I didnít go straight there.
MacLeod: For goodness sake.
Smith: I went down to Tudor Drive. I went to a flower shop and asked a man is, where is Cardinal Drive, because I was suspicious of the reason for that call. I mean, who wouldnít be, if somebody phones you up with a strange accent, gives you a strange story about something, which doesnít really tie up with anything Iíve, with my experience, and then more or less directs me somewhere. I mean, I wanted to, whatís the point of me just ignoring it.
MacLeod: Would you say thatís the behaviour of the average man in the street?
Smith: I think the average man in the street would certainly be curious, as to see. I mean, every time the phone - my wife does this as well - every time the phone goes, and we hear, either we donít get any answer at the other end, or somebody asks for someone - I mean, itís like when people ask for somebody, and your wife becomes suspicious of who is this other person. It immediately creates curiosity. I donít think, anybody who has got any intelligence is curious about something that doesnít add up.
MacLeod: Yes, youíre curious, and in your case you followed it up.
Smith: I nearly always follow up curious events, yes.
MacLeod: Do you, yes. Is that the behaviour of the average person in the street?
Smith: Well, but Iím a quality assurance man. I mean, that is the nature of my job, is to be curious, and I canít switch that off when I leave work, Iím sorry.
MacLeod: So, you entered the telephone box, but didnít make a telephone call?
Smith: Iíd no reason to make a telephone call. The only ...
MacLeod: Why did you enter the telephone box?
Smith: I picked the phone up, I think, because I thought maybe my wife is going to be anxious. Because I know she was getting late for the appointment, and she had to leave by, I think, twenty to ten at the latest, to get there by ten. So my concern, when I realised this was just a waste of my time, was that I am going to upset her.
So, I think, I picked the phone up to make the call and then decided not to, because I thought, well, sheís probably in the shower, and itís just going to delay her even more. So, that could have been my only reason for going into the box
MacLeod: So you left the telephone box, and you then, um, made your way back to your home address. Is that what youíre saying
Smith: I went to the newsagent on the way back, because I still wanted to get this newspaper.
Beels: Where is this newsagentís. What road is that?
Smith: Itís my normal newsagent on, er, on Kings Road. Itís called Moranís, I think. Which is the newsagent who normally delivers my papers, and she will specifically remember it because I picked up 2 copies of the Times, thinking I had the supplements, or something, and she said youíve got 2 copies there, and I put it back on the way out
MacLeod: And what road is that newsagentís in?
Smith: Itís in Kings Road. And I was on the way back from Kings Road, via Chesfield Road, when I was picked up
MacLeod: So when you left the telephone box in Cardinal Avenue, junction with Durlston Road, you took the most direct route back, did you?
Smith: I think that is the most direct route. I mean, because of the nature of the roads in that area, there is no more direct route than that, back to the newsagents, anyway.
MacLeod: I mean, you know that area reasonably well, donít you?
Smith: I know the roads. I ignore the names of the roads.
MacLeod: But you know the geography of the area?
Smith: I know the roads in the immediate vicinity of where I live. I donít know all the roads in Kingston.
MacLeod: I am going to ask you again. When you left that telephone box, can you remember where you went. You sat on a wall.
Smith: I sat on a wall, because Iíd, feeling I had wasted my time, I was now late to get back. Iíd been running, and I was a bit tired actually, Iím not very fit. I sat there for maybe a minute, I donít know, and then I came home.
Beels: You said youíd been jogging, did you say?
Smith: I jogged a bit, yes. I Ö
Smith: Because, I realised that the whole thing was going to be a waste of time, immediately I got there. I thought, this is, Iím being sent on a wild goose chase here.
MacLeod: Well, Iím putting it to you, that you jogged in the opposite direction. You started jogging in the opposite direction to your home address.
Smith: Sorry, I am not with you.
MacLeod: Instead of, you said you came back to your, made your way back to your home address. Iím telling you that, when you left that telephone box, you, sort of, half jogged towards the end of Cardinal Avenue, to the junction with Latchmere Lane.
Smith: Iíve explained to you already, that I, all I heard on the phone was Cardinal Drive, and a telephone box. I got to the location I thought was being mentioned, which was this same box, as it turned out. You understand?
MacLeod: Mm, so you made your way ...
Smith: I saw there was nobody there. I thought, this is, maybe this isnít the location that this man was talking about. Iíll, so I carried on down Cardinal, I think itís Cardinal Avenue, to the Cardinal pub. I asked a woman, or a man, or both, people who were working in the flower shop,
and they said they didnít know of any Cardinal Drive. I then ...
Beels: This was, sorry, this was a flower shop? You spoke to a man?
Smith: Yes a flower shop, I think itís the first shop, in the parade of shops in Tudor Drive.
Beels: You spoke to a man and a woman, who were, what, working in the shop?
Smith: They were working in the shop, yes. I think they were preparing flowers for the day.
Beels: And you asked them ...
Smith: I said, ďis there any Cardinal Drive around here, somebodyís directed me to Cardinal DriveĒ, and they said, ďno, we know a Cardinal Avenue, but no Cardinal DriveĒ. And so I thought, this sounds a bit suspicious, and I then thought, I just, I was more or less deciding then, I might as well go home, and I was walking down Cardinal Avenue again, and I came across another man, and I said ďdo you happen to know where Cardinal Drive isĒ, and he said he didnít know either. So, I thought it was ...
Beels: This man was, what, walking towards you?
Smith: He was walking towards me, yes.
Beels: With company? On his own?
Smith: On his own, just looked like somebody who lived in the area.
Beels: Not somebody you recognised, or ...
Smith: No. Nobody I recognised him at all. He looked a typical man sort of man, out for a walk in the morning.
MacLeod: How many years have you lived in the area?
Smith: Iíve lived in the area since, in that, in which area? Are we talking about my present home?
Beels: In the vicinity of Burton Road, in that vicinity?
Smith: Iíve lived there since 1979.
Beels: As the tapeís coming to an end, I think thatís a convenient point in which to bring this interview to an end. So, I am concluding this interview Mr Smith. Is there anything else you wish to add or clarify?
Smith: No, Iíve clarified as much as I can, I think.
Beels: Thank you. At the end of this interview I will be asking you to sign the seal on the master tape. Will you do so?
Smith: Yes I will.
Beels: And thereís a form here explaining your rights of access to the tape. I make the time now at 11:24 am. I am about to switch off the machine.