Ever since the spycops scandal began unfolding in 2010 there have been no end of revelations. Reason and common sense has been turned on its head and sometimes its like being in a movie. Along comes another shock and you think, “Is this true?” Of all the bizarre twists and turns, however, this is surely the most unbelievable.
We thought we’d seen it all. Spies who suddenly appeared and inserted themselves into the lives of activists, forming intimate relationships and even having children. Spies who broke the law and incited others to commit crimes. Spies who vanished abroad never to be heard from again, mysteriously disappearing like ghosts. Until now…
The case of Christine Green goes far beyond any of this. It is unlike anything yet discovered and pushes the boundaries of credulity to the limit. Years have been spent on the investigation and there were times when I shook my head in disbelief. How could a spycop and her target fall in love and continue a relationship for over a decade? For a long time all we had were patchy details but as they were pieced together a remarkable story began to appear.
Christine Green was the cover name used by an agent from the Special Demonstrations Squad who was deployed in the animal rights movement from 1995-2000. I knew her well although I wouldn’t say we were close friends. Her gender alone marks her out as female infiltrators were, as far as we know, very rare. The SDS was an old boys club, a bastion of male chauvinism and sexism, a challenging institution for a woman.
Her day to day manager would have been Bob Lambert. He had at least three relationships while undercover, two of which were long term and one where he fathered a child. He now know that such practices began much earlier, with Rick Gibson doing similar things in the seventies. It was a perk of the job, a not be missed opportunity for married men with families to get paid to sleep with female activists, all in the line of duty.
When she joined the SDS, Christine was possibly their first female operative for at least 10 years. In their book Undercover: the true story of Britain’s secret police Paul Lewis and Rob Evans claim spies were deployed at Greenham Women’s Camp in the eighties and a decade earlier a female agent infiltrated a leftwing feminist group. Why another female was chosen in 1994 is unclear. Lambert would’ve been instrumental in the decision and perhaps he believed it made her less suspicious – because she was the third undercover in London Boots Action Group/London Animal Action in three years.
Christine was the replacement for Andy Coles, known as Andy “Van” Davey. She lived in Streatham, as he had, and started attending the group’s meetings just as Coles left in February 1995. Her deployment overlapped with Matt Rayner, who lived in Willesden, north London. It had been SDS policy to place two spies in animal rights, one north and one south of the river, since the mid-eighties.
Doubts were raised about Christine, as she could be aloof and moody at times. She also carried a bag around with her that she would never leave, even when going to the toilet, and that aroused suspicion. At one point she asked an activist friend if others thought she was undercover cop. But she could be friendly and helpful, particularly to people she felt were important, and she quickly became a trusted member of LAA, going to virtually all its meetings. By 1997 she was a signatory on the bank account and de facto treasurer (replacing Rayner who had just left) and minutes from a planning meeting show her enthusiastically volunteering for group activities.
Like all spycops, Christine had a van. She claimed she worked as a courier delivering parcels for a company but she also used the van for animal rights actions. In April 1997 she drove activists to a national demonstration against Consort Beagles, a laboratory animal supplier. A major disturbance took place in which one beagle was rescued and a number of protesters were arrested. Two of them were from London and Christine waited until they were released in the early hours of the morning.
Her driving skills also made her ideal for hunt sabotage and like her undercover predecessors she went sabbing. Initially she tried joining Brixton Sabs but met a frosty reception and never went out with them. She then turned to West London Sabs, a group Rayner had infiltrated. There she met the person who would change her life.
Tom Frampton is an experienced hunt saboteur and former HSA committee member. In 1993 he was gaoled for allegedly head butting a terrier man. The Spring 1993 edition of the ALF Supporters Group Newsletter said:
On 19th March Thomas Frampton was convicted of actual bodily harm (ABH) on a terrier man of fox hunt. He was sentenced to three months in prison. Tom is known to most people as Joe Tax and was on the HSA committee as chairperson a short while ago. In the same week as Tom was sent down the huntsman of the Surrey Union fox hunt, who was under a suspended sentence, was also convicted of ABH. He received a £61 fine! Tom has a release date of 30th April.
By the late nineties Tom was living on a narrowboat in Southall on the outskirts of west London and was a prominent figure in West London Sabs. It was there that he met Christine and they fell in love. Tom was from the Uxbridge area and his father owned a coach business. On World Lab Animal Day 1998 Tom drove a coach LAA had hired to go to Hillgrove Farm, a breeder of cats for laboratories. Christine was on the coach too and from then on they were obviously a couple.
Shortly afterwards Tom began accompanying Christine to LAA meetings. In the pub after one of them, he told me he was “madly in love” with her. He told another activist he had photos of her on his bedroom wall. The last time I remember Tom was at an LAA meeting towards the end of 1999. We had just had a serious row with another group over racism. He was very strong and forthright in his opinions and said: “Racism is like a cancer, you have to cut it out.” Christine expressed similar views.
By now Christine’s deployment was coming to an end. She announced that she was going to visit Australia with money inherited from her deceased uncle. She split with Tom and those who knew him said he was bereft. What happened next is not certain but a reliable source claims they were reunited in France and in about 2001 moved to Cornwall.
Christine found work as a counsellor for rape victims in Penzance and over the next decade they were sighted together by a number of people, including some who visited the house they shared. Another activist who’d known Tom from LAA spotted him and Christine at a vegetarian restaurant in Penzance. She tried to strike up a conversation but was given a frosty reception.
During this period Tom continued his involvement in animal rights. He took part in a campaign against a hedgehog cull in Scotland with Uist Hedgehog Rescue and was arrested in April 2003. He later began working for Animal Aid on undercover investigations at slaughterhouses, placing concealed cameras to record footage of animal cruelty. In 2010 the Guardian revealed that secret videos of “sickening” abuse of animals had been installed by “a 49-year-old former hunt saboteur with a long criminal history…who uses the pseudonym ‘Joe’.”
This became one of Animal Aid’s most highly publicised campaigns and eventually led in 2017 to the government announcing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs. Ironically the person behind these undercover investigations was living with an ex-police officer. Did Tom learn the skills required, such breaking into a building and installing secret recording devices, from his spycop lover? Was Animal Aid aware and if not would they have gone ahead had they known the truth? Senior campaigns officer at the time, Kate Fowler, was apparently on good terms with the couple but attempts to get an answer from Animal Aid have been met by silence.
Then in 2011 as the undercover policing scandal went public, Tom and Christine decided to up sticks and move several hundred miles north to Scotland. Most of the people they knew say they have not kept in touch. It appears they were going to ground, aware of the risk they would be traced and outed if they remained in Cornwall.
How Christine Green was uncovered
As soon as I discovered that Bob Lambert and his successor John Dines were police spies, I began questioning others I’d known who fitted the same mould. One of them was Christine and when I launched ARspycatcher in 2013 I named her as a possible spycop in the document How special branch spied on the animal rights movement which went online the next year. Through talking to people who knew her, I was able to piece together the remarkable story of how she and Tom had continued their relationship after her deployment was over.
One of the people I spoke to, a friend of Tom from hunt sabbing days, met him in early 2013. He said he openly told Tom that he thought Christine was a spy and Tom appeared uncomfortable but said nothing. For the next few years there was little movement but in 2017 they were found living in a secluded cottage in south Ayrshire. A Guardian journalist visited and spoke to Tom who refused to comment on the allegations. Shortly afterwards an old friend of Tom went there but she met Christine, who was very hostile.
One important question left unanswered is what Christine’s superiors in special branch would have thought of her telling the truth to the activist she targeted. We cannot be sure when this happened. Was it as early as 2001 when she and Tom began sharing a house in Cornwall or was it a decade later when the spycops scandal erupted? Perhaps this explains why they decided to move somewhere where nobody would know them.
Ructions within the Met would have been severe. What she did broke every rule in the book. Ex-spycops were expected to sever all links with their targets and never be seen again. However, something similar happened to Jim Boyling who infiltrated animal rights and environmental groups from 1995-2000, the same time as Christine. He had an intimate relationship with a female activist before disappearing but she managed to track him down and he confessed his covert role.
According to the Guardian he “encouraged her to change her name by deed poll, apparently to conceal their relationship from his seniors at the Met. Her deed poll certificate is signed by Boyling, who lists his occupation as ‘police officer’.” It wasn’t until they married several years later that he told his superiors. They had two children but later divorced due to Boyling’s abusive behaviour.
Christine and Tom sold their house last year so their current whereabouts are unknown. Perhaps they fear hostility towards from the people she spied on. If so, they are mistaken. Although what Christine did while in the SDS was wrong, there was nothing wrong with her falling in love with Tom and them wanting to spend the rest of their lives together. The natural reaction towards that will be warmth and understanding, even among those she infiltrated. But they will also ask her to come forward and make a statement – an apology – and divulge the details of her deployment. Then she and Tom can stop running and instead be welcomed as allies of the spycops community, many of whom they will once have counted as friends.
http://powerbase.info/index.php/Christine_Green_(alias) Christine’s profile on Powerbase
https://network23.org/arspycatcher/2017/12/17/mitting-to-reveal-cover-names-of-one-or-possibly-two-animal-rights-spycops/ Blog post in which I argue that the spycop codenamed N26 in the public inquiry might be Christine.