Eco-activist tricked into relationship with undercover policeman wins £229,000 payout

File photo dated 27/02/20 of environmental activist Kate Wilson, who was deceived into a nearly two-year relationship with an undercover officer. The Metropolitan Police has been ordered to pay nearly ?230,000 for breaching the human rights of the environmental activist who discovered in 2010 that the man she knew as Mark Stone was a married police officer called Mark Kennedy, who had been sent to spy on activists as part of the Met's National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPIOU). Issue date: Tuesday January 25, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Undercover . Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Kate Wilson, 41, had a ‘whirlwind romance’ with a married undercover police officer (Picture: PA)

An environmental activist tricked into a sexual relationship with an undercover police officer for nearly two years has been awarded almost £230,000.

Kate Wilson, 41, had a ‘whirlwind romance’ with Mark Stone, who she met in 2003, before they split amicably.

But in 2010, she found out he was actually Mark Kennedy, a married Metropolitan Police officer spying on activists who had sexual relationships with as many as ten others during his deployment.

Ms Wilson brought legal action against the Met and the National Police Chiefs’ Council for breaching her rights to freedom from degrading treatment, to privacy and to freedom of expression.

The organisations accepted a breach but claimed other officers did not know about the relationship.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has now ordered the Met and NPCC to pay Ms Wilson £229,471.96, after she won her landmark case last year.

It found the Met’s claim that officers knew sexual relationships were not allowed was ‘undermined by the sheer frequency’ of them by Kennedy and others.

METRO GRAB Kate Wilson, the woman at the centre of an undercover investigation led by a police officer posing as her partner, Mark Stone - who was actually Mark Kennedy
Mark Stone – who was actually Mark Kennedy – had sexual relationships with as many as ten other women (Picture: PA)

It said the undercover operation could not be justified as ‘necessary in a democratic society’, and found the Met and NPCC’s failure to guard against relationship risks was discrimination against women.

‘This is not just a case about a renegade officer who took advantage of his undercover deployment to indulge his sexual proclivities,’ the IPT added.

The Met’s Assistant Commissoner Helen Ball said: ‘We recognise the gravity of the judgment in this case, which outlined a series of serious failings.’

The NPCC’s Chief Constable Alan Pughsley added: ‘Training is significantly more rigorous than during Mark Kennedy’s time. Significant work has been undertaken.’

It came as the Met apologised to and compensated an academic for ‘sexist language’ after her clothes were cut off in a strip-search, in the latest damning revelation to hit the force.

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