Walthamstow socialist seduced by undercover cop 'physically sick' after real name revealed"Vince Miller" was really Vincent Harvey, who went on to become director of the National Criminal Intelligence Service
A Walthamstow activist seduced by an undercover cop in the late 70s told an inquiry she felt “physically sick” after learning his real name last year.
The woman, identified as “Madeleine”, was a member of the Walthamstow branch of the Socialist Workers Party and one of at least four women seduced by “Vince Miller” while he was infiltrating the group.
Last May, she gave evidence at the Undercover Policing Inquiry, claiming “Vince” deceived her into a months-long sexual relationship. The officer claimed he had a one-night stand with her and three other women.
However, after finally learning his real identity last September, Madeleine requested permission to speak before the inquiry again, explaining it “shocked and horrified [her] and cast the evidence… in a different light”.
Vince Miller, who previously told the inquiry he had "spent 30 years being careful about security” to avoid his real name being released after ending undercover work, was really Vincent James Harvey, who went on to become director of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS).
Madeleine’s statement, written on 16th March, reads: “Discovering Harvey's real identity last September took me back to how I felt when the inquiry first knocked on my door in 2020. I felt unsafe, anxious and paranoid for a time. It cemented my understanding that I had absolutely no idea who he really was.
“Even though I had seen him give evidence as a police officer, part of me had still found it difficult to dispel the idea that he had some sympathy with our ideals. Once I realised how high up in the police he had gone, I knew this was a delusion. It was clear that he was firmly entrenched and ideologically committed to the 'force'. I have found that hard to deal with.”
Vincent Harvey’s name was only made public in September because he was granted anonymity until his evidence concluded, based on “privacy grounds” concerning an immediate family member.
Madeleine told the inquiry she now feels she was “emotionally manipulated” by this appeal for privacy, adding: “I didn't believe there was any real risk to the immediate family member but I weighed up my need to know Harvey's real name… against the anxiety that this might cause to the family member at that time.
“I had not imagined for one second that someone who had risen to such a senior rank in the police (and who carried out a front-facing role and regularly appeared in the press) would have been granted a restriction order.
“It is my view that senior public figures, like Harvey, should be held to the highest standards. He should have had the courage to stand up and explain his actions in his real name and be questioned accordingly.
“Had Harvey's real identity been known at the time he gave evidence, this would have allowed for greater public scrutiny… [and] may have even led to new witnesses coming forward to the inquiry.”
Julia with undercover cop "Phil Cooper" (credit: UCPI/courtesy of Julia)
The inquiry also received a statement from former SWP member Julia Poynter, who said she only learned the group had been infiltrated by two officers - Vincent and “Phil Cooper”, whose real name is still unrevealed - following the inquiry hearings last May.
She told the inquiry she met Vincent in 1977 after he began attending weekly branch meetings at the Rose & Crown pub, adding: “Our branch was a close-knit, friendly group and Vince made friends quickly and became a popular person in the branch.
“Vince was very sociable and always came to the pub with us. Unlike the rest of us who were often skint and could only afford half-pints, he always had a full one.
“He was considered trustworthy and had a reputation for reliability… He came across as kind and considerate. Until the discovery of his true identity, I'd thought he was one of the loveliest people I've ever met.”
She added that she was then close friends with Madeleine, although the pair only reconnected after 30 years following the May hearings, adding: “I remember 'Madeleine' discussing her relationship with Vince with me… It was clearly not a one-night stand.
“I recall her telling me how he would leave her flat in the middle of the night and I remember that we both thought it was very odd.
“I recall 'Madeleine' telling me how disappointed she was when Vince ended the relationship after a few months. I knew she had grown fond of him and she seemed very sad following the break-up. It was clear to me at the time that it had been a significant relationship for her.”
In his statement to the inquiry, submitted in 2019, Vincent Harvey claimed he had sex with Madeleine once after a party at her flat.
He wrote: “I had driven to the event and intended not to drink. In the end I drank and couldn't drive home because I was over the limit.
“I found a chair to sleep on when the party was over. She unexpectedly asked me to come into her bedroom. It only happened on one occasion.
“I have been asked: was sexual activity in my cover identity permitted during my deployment? I find this very difficult to answer. I suspect the office would have a concern with the security risk.
“I never told my managers because I didn't attribute it much importance. I only reported on Madeleine insofar as her attendance at meetings and her employment.”
The Undercover Policing Inquiry, which is investigating undercover policing all the way back to 1968, began in 2015 and is not expected to conclude until next year.