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Old 06-10-2018, 08:49 PM   #121
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Did MI5 murder orange-in-mouth Tory MP? Stephen Milligan supposedly died after a bizarre sex game - but chilling investigation raises an even more sinister possibility after the former journalist 'unearthed British illegal arms sales'

The 45-year-old MP was found lying on a kitchen table in his terraced home
He was naked apart from a pair of stockings and a bin-liner over his head
Milligan was also discovered with a single segment of orange in his mouth
Due to the circumstances Milligan's death was ruled as misadventure
BBC newsman John Simpson now suggests that Milligan was a victim of foul play

By Guy Adams for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:17, 5 October 2018 | Updated: 02:42, 6 October 2018

Almost a quarter of a century may have passed, but the bizarre and outwardly tawdry nature of Stephen Milligan’s death has lost little of its ability to shock.

The 45-year-old MP, a rising star of John Major’s Conservative party, was found lying on a kitchen table in his terraced home near the River Thames in Chiswick on the afternoon of Monday, February 7, 1994.

His body was naked, save for a pair of women’s stockings and suspenders, plus a black bin-liner over his head. Around his neck was a length of electrical flex, which had apparently been used to strangle him.

His mouth meanwhile contained a single segment of orange.

A post-mortem examination soon found that Milligan had died of suffocation caused by pressure from the ligature around his neck, most likely in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In the ensuing media circus, detectives quickly took the view that the MP, a bachelor, had suffered a fatal accident while carrying out a solo sex act.

Specifically, they believed he’d been indulging in ‘auto-erotic asphyxiation’ — the highly-unconventional practice of seeking to increase sexual excitement by restricting the supply of blood to the brain.

A hastily-convened inquest, which opened the following week, reached a similar conclusion: West London Coroner, Dr John Burton, found no evidence to suggest that the Eastleigh MP had been murdered or committed suicide, instead recording an official verdict of ‘death by misadventure’.

To devastated friends and colleagues, the whole thing quite understandably came as a terrible bolt from the blue.

However, you don’t have to spend long exploring the circumstances of this most notorious of political scandals to find informed sources who smell a rat about his death. Take, for example, a ‘former girlfriend’ who was interviewed by the Independent newspaper on February 9, 1994, just two days after his body was found.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she believed he’d been killed by someone seeking to destabilise the Major government — which could include either Russian spies or opponents of the then-recent Anglo-Irish declaration, aimed at bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

In her interview, the girlfriend argued that the kitchen of his home at Black Lion Lane in Chiswick was an unlikely location for him to indulge in a sex act. ‘I believe he was murdered,’ she said. ‘Even if you accept that he was up to these practices — and I know him well and he wasn’t — then why would he do it where he was found?

‘He was in the kitchen which is draughty, which has tiled floors and which is not particularly secretive; there are French windows that people can see through.

‘On the other hand, that is the perfect place to leave a body where you know it will be seen. And the day he was found was the day of the Conservative Winter Ball, a time when his death would cause maximum embarrassment.’

Take also Gerald James, a businessman who achieved prominence during the early Nineties when his company, the arms firm Astra, was caught up in the so-called ‘Arms to Iraq’ affair. Astra collapsed after being accused of using a subsidiary to break an embargo to sell weapons that ended-up in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Soon afterwards, James turned whistle-blower, insisting it was one of several companies whose activities had been quietly sanctioned by the British government.

The 1996 Scott Report vindicated many of his claims. Several years later, James published a memoir of the affair, titled In The Public Interest.

Though little noticed at the time, the book makes intriguing reading in light of this week’s remarks by John Simpson, for it suggests that Milligan was one of up to eight individuals killed in remarkably similar circumstances by the British security services to keep details of government involvement in illegal arms sales from becoming public.

That may seem too fantastical to believe.

But only this week a tribunal heard how MI5 agents have been given authorisation to commit ‘murder, torture and sexual assault’ on British soil without fear of prosecution in order to protect national security. Not only that, this licence to commit ‘grave criminality’ has been granted for the past 30 years.

Among the suspicious deaths mentioned in Gerald James’s memoir, was that of James Rusbridger, a 65-year-old former MI6 officer turned journalist who died just nine days after Milligan.

Rusbridger was found lying on his stomach on the landing of his rented home in Devon, wearing a gas mask, green overalls, thick rubber gloves and a long oilskin coat. A rope, which stretched into the attic, was tied around his neck and ankles. He was surrounded by pictures of men and women in bondage situations.

Intriguingly, just a few days earlier, he’d written to a local TV station saying that he intended to investigate Milligan’s demise. A coroner nonetheless concluded that he’d taken his own life.

Also among the eight mysterious deaths cited by James was that of Jonathan Moyle, a journalist who had travelled to Chile in 1990 to dig into the sale of 50 helicopters which were to be sold to Iraq after being fitted with British made anti-tank missile guidance systems.

Moyle never completed his investigation, but was instead found crammed into a hotel wardrobe, hanging by his shirt from a clothes rail. His head was covered with a pillowcase, and over two pairs of underpants he was wearing a towel and a polythene bag.

Initially, sources at the British embassy briefed that he’d died when a sex game went wrong. It wasn’t until eight years after his death that an inquest concluded that Moyle had been ‘unlawfully killed’ by a ‘person or persons unknown’. Speaking in September 2010, his former fiancée said: ‘The British intelligence services tried to smear Jonathan suggesting he was sexually deviant.’

In his aforementioned Nineties memoir, businessman Gerald James explained that staging deaths via auto-erotic asphyxiation was a favourite technique of secret agents.

The reason — he argued — was that the deeply unedifying circumstances of such deaths make them unlikely to be properly investigated. After all, friends and family of the deceased are usually too embarrassed to want them to garner much attention.

Twenty years on, that remains his view. Indeed, speaking to the Mail this week, the former businessman, who nowadays lives in Barnes, South-West London said he still believes Milligan was murdered. The particular motive, James explained, was to prevent him from revealing details of the Arms to Iraq affair.

‘At the time of his death, Milligan was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jonathan Aitken, the defence procurement minister, so he would have had access to sensitive documents. If he uncovered evidence of a cover up, and was prepared to turn whistle-blower, then I believe the chances of him being killed by the intelligence services were very high.’ James added that Milligan was observed shortly before his death having a furious row with one of his party whips.

‘Milligan would have known all about dirty tricks and covert arms deals. Presumably he argued with the whip because he had questioned policy and threatened to spill beans.’

Perhaps intriguingly, given this claim, the immediate aftermath of Milligan’s death saw his Commons office cleared of papers by MI5, according to contemporary newspaper reports.

What’s more, a report in the Sunday Express six days after the 1994 tragedy suggested that a ‘mystery man’ was in his Chiswick home before police arrived on the scene on the day his body was found.

The article suggested that the man in question was from the MoD and had been sent ‘to check whether any confidential or sensitive papers had been left lying around’ and presumably remove them. However the MoD denied any such official had been sent, insisting there was no ‘security aspect’ to the case.

Still more bizarrely, reporters at the scene said that on the evening of Milligan’s discovery, detectives carted off several bags of documents, plus two kitchen cupboard doors ‘which had been removed at the hinges’ and the top of a ‘modern round pine table’.
when the people in power want you dead, just existing is a revolutionary act
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