Barrister’s ‘hoax call’ to defence secretary over nuclear bomb at Olympics

Michael Shrimpton on the USS Enterprise in 2006
Michael Shrimpton on the USS Enterprise in 2006

A barrister told a former Defence Minister a bomb stolen from a sunken Russian submarine had been smuggled into the country and could be used to blow up the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and assassinate the Queen, a court heard today (Monday).

The court heard that Michael Shrimpton, 57 years, of Jusons Glebe, Wendover, telephoned MP Philip Hammond, who was Defence Secretary at the time, to tell him the country was under threat of a nuclear attack.

He said he had picked up information from ‘credible European sources’ that intelligence was being blocked by official channels about the terror threat and left a message for Mr Hammond, in which he dropped the names of several MPs.

He told police who arrested him the following day that hauling him in for questioning was ‘a colossal cock-up worthy of an apology, damages and lunch on the MI5.’

Opening the case at Southwark Crown Court, prosecutor Alan Blake said: “This is a 57-year-old barrister with a fascination for politics the military and intelligence. In April 2012, he passed on information about a threat of nuclear attack. That information was extraordinary and dramatic.”

Shrimpton contacted Mr Hammond’s office on April 19, 2012, and left a message stating a nuclear weapon had been stolen from the sunken Russian submarine, the Kursk, smuggled into the UK and stored near a London hospital in preparation for the attack.

Mr Blake said: “You will remember the degree of tension about potential terrorists and it would have been brave and foolish to ignore threats, especially from a professional man.”

Shrimpton, who described himself as an intelligence expert on national security, also telephoned Sarah Sproat, who worked for the Conservative Association in Aylesbury, Bucks, the following day and told her about the bomb threats.

Barry Burton, who worked in Mr Hammond’s office, called Shrimpton back and spoke to him for around 20 minutes. He told him the weapon had been transported by an ambulance to mask the radioactive signature because it contained Iranian Plutonium and could be used to attack the Games or assassinate the Queen.

Mr Burton was not convinced but passed the information to the Olympics Security Authority and the police.

Shrimpton was arrested on April 20, 2012 and told police he was an intelligence and national security specialist with hundreds of contacts.

He said the German Defence Service, DVD, was responsible for sabotaging the Kursk and stated the service now controls Al Qaeda and has penetrated MI5 and MI6.

Shrimpton refused to reveal his sources but said they included ‘someone in Munich who lunches with the Pope.’

He called his arrest a colossal cock-up worthy of an apology, damages and lunch on the MI5, and claimed the weapon had been taken back out of the UK while he had been in custody by the Royal Navy, which moved it to Germany, and it could be used against New York.

Mr Blake said: “Mr Shrimpton communicated the threat using vocabulary and the persona of an intelligence insider at a time of national heightened tension. Despite his protestations, he knew or believed the information had no real foundations and was false and misleading.

“Michael Shrimpton is an unrelenting networker desperate to associate himself with people with real power and influence.

His persona as an intelligence specialist is founded on flimsy foundations. He sought to above all bolster his credibility.’

Shrimpton denies two counts of making bomb hoaxes relating to the London 2012 Games.

The trial continues.