Hilda Murrell

New readers start here. The Observer is one of the world’s most distinguished Sunday newspapers, founded in 1791. Michael Mansfield is a QC (top layer of UK lawyers) with a great reputation and a history of working for good causes. Hilda Murrell was an anti-nuclear activist, murdered near Shrewsbury in England in 1984 not long before she would have give evidence at the public inquiry into a planned nuclear power station, Sizewell B, which is now running in Suffolk.

I was a witness at this inquiry on behalf of the Town and Country Planning Association, and penned a book on it for Pluto Press.

Yesterday the Observer reported that Mansfield wants inquiries into Murrell’s death to resume, with an emphasis on the possible role of the UK security services.

So, here are the only four things you need to know about the Murrell case.

One. There is no mystery about how she died. As David Aaronovitch has written convincingly in his book Voodoo Histories, a local criminal was done for the crime. (DA is a mate of my mate Rex Osborn, so it must be true.)

Two. If her evidence had been given to the inquiry, it would have been unimportant. We know this from advanced drafts of her planned evidence. Far more damning evidence on her subject (nuclear waste) was given to the inquiry, and by more authoritative witnesses than Murrell, eg TCPA, Friends of the Earth and many others. As far as I know the people responsible are either alive, or have died of natural causes.

Three. Neither Sizewell B nor the abortive “small family” of nuclear reactors planned to succeed it would have added materially to the UK’s very serious nuclear waste problem.

Four. I gave evidence of Day 131 of the Inquiry. There was a small but dedicated audience when I spoke at the Snape Maltings. Two chaps in good suits were in row six. They happily admitted being from Special Branch. So we do know that the funny police were interested in the inquiry. These two complained vigorously to me that it was keeping them away from their proper jobs. However, this does not support the idea that Argentinian-style death squads were on the case.

I never met Hilda. But I know she deserves better than this. Can we leave her in peace please?

About Martin Ince

UK-based science and higher education journalist, big strengths in universities and university ranking, futures, media strategy and training, Earth and space sciences
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