• Short Summary

    A British naval officer, Sub-Lieutenant David James Bingham, was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on Monday (March 13) for selling information on ships' movements, naval intelligence, anti-submarine equipment and nuclear depth bombing methods to the Soviet Union.

  • Description

    High Street, Cowplain, near Portsmouth

    LV & SV Bingham's house(3 shots) Cowplain, Hampshire

    GV EXT. Soviet Embassy, Kensington Place Gardens in London

    LV & CU 23 Camden Hill Road in London (contact address)

    LV & SV Entrance of naval establishment with personnel walking

    LV & CU Mrs Bingham enters house and prepares tea (3 shots)

    CU Mrs Bingham speaks (SOUND ON FILM)

    Exterior High Street, Cowplain; the Bingham's house; exterior Soviet Embassy in London; contact address in London' entrance to naval establishment with personnel; Mrs. Bingham making tea and interview with BBC reporter David Tindell.

    REPORTER: "It all started, according to Bingham's statement, when in their house at Cowplain in Hampshire, his 31-year-old wife Maureen suggested jokingly they should get out of debt by going to the Russian Embassy. He wrote a note, which was taken by her to the Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens. A detailed plan was worked out then with the agency Kuzmin through a contact address in Camden Hill Road in West London. After Bingham decided to confess to his crimes to his First Officer in HMS Rothesay in Portsmouth harbour in August last year, Kuzmin was expelled. Prior to Bingham's involvement which the Russians the couple were already about two thousand pounds in debt. Between that debt and overdue mortgage repayments and owning two cars, they were at a low financial ebb."

    MRS. BINGHAM: "Well it was so simple it was stupid. When I decided to go ahead with this I went out on a Saturday to the Russian Embassy. I knocked. And this Russian gentleman opened the door, but he only opened it about six inches; and I said I'd like to see somebody and he said "I'm sorry the Embassy is closed for the weekend. All the staff, there's not any staff here." So I went away and I thought 'Well I was stupid. I should have brought a letter.' So I went back home again, and wrote a letter and came back again on the Sunday morning.

    When I got back again there was this big Soviet Jew demonstration going on outside, with quite a few policemen and that. Well I indicated that I wanted to go into the Embassy and they actually held up traffic and kept it apart while I went in. I had David's naval pass right on the front of the car. I again went up to the door and knocked and this time I had the letter in my hand. They let me in immediately, but I think he thought I was coming from this demonstration. And he just read the letter and walked away and brought back this Naval Attache who spoke to me and said "You know what's in the letter?". I said I did. Then he said "Don't worry about anything, you'll be hearing from me shortly."

    All in all, the Bingham's return on their spying activities amounted to GBP2,300 sterling. Bingham pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Official Secrets Act, after turning himself in to the authorities.

    Cowplain, near Portsmouth, in the south of England...home of David Bingham, sentenced on Monday to 21 years in prison for selling secrets said to be almost beyond price, to the Russians. In this house, Bingham said, his wife jokingly suggested the deal.

    He wrote a note, and she delivered it to the Soviet Embassy.

    A detailed plan was worked out with the Russian agent Lori Kuzmin through a contact address in west London. Kuzmin was expelled from Britain when Bingham confessed.

    In 18 months of spying, Bingham, a torpedo-expert, was paid two-thousand pounds for information.

    Before the couple's involvement with the Russians, they were already about two-thousand pounds in debt, and needed money badly. Mrs. Bingham describes the part she played in an interview which led to her becoming the subject of police inquiries.......

    Initials OS/038 OS/048

    NOTE TO EDITORS: This film is accompanied by natural sound with Voice on Film English commentary. An alternative commentary is attached.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A British naval officer, Sub-Lieutenant David James Bingham, was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on Monday (March 13) for selling information on ships' movements, naval intelligence, anti-submarine equipment and nuclear depth bombing methods to the Soviet Union.

    After the sentence, Bingham's wife Maureen admitted: "It was all my fault." She said her appetite for the game of Bingo and desire to keep her clothes up to the standards of other officers' wives led to serious financial debts; it was she who contacted Captain Lory Kuzmin, the assistant naval attache at the Soviet Embassy in London -- offering her husband's services without his knowing. And it was she who "dropped" the secret information at pre-determined "dead letter boxes" -- information described in court as being "almost beyond price."
    In view of Mrs. Bingham's statements to the press, the Director of Public Prosecutions on Tuesday (14 March) requested the police to make an immediate investigation. Mrs. Bingham said she welcomed any investigation the police cared to make.

    Mrs. Bingham, a mother of four children, also disclosed that her husband had always opposed the idea and how -- once the couple followed their 18-month espionage trail -- Bingham turned to drinking and contemplated suicide.

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