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Police Reopen Case On Escape Of Master Spy George Blake

January 4, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ Police said Wednesday they reopened investigations into the 1966 prison escape to Moscow of George Blake, a Briton who became a key Soviet spy, after two British anti-nuclear campaigners said they helped free Blake.

Michael Randle, a former researcher in ″peace studies″ at Bradford University in northern England, and London antiques dealer Pat Pottle attracted new attention with plans to publish a book about how they helped free Blake.

″We do feel that we were right to do what we did, and all our reasoning will be in our book which is published in June,″ Randle, 54, told reporters Wednesday.

In London, a spokeswoman at Scotland Yard police headquarters said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions asked police to reopen investigations.

″This we have done, but we can give no further details,″ she said, speaking on condition she was not identified.

Blake, now 65 and the only surviving major British traitor known to be in the Soviet Union, was sentenced in 1962 to 42 years imprisonment in a highly publicized case. The 42 years were for the 42 British agents prosecutors said the Dutch-born Blake betrayed to their deaths.

Blake escaped from London’s Wormwood Scrubs prison after serving less than five years. In a Soviet television interview last April, he said he hid in an apartment near the prison for a few days, hid in another for two months and then was smuggled from Britain to the Soviet Union by way of East Berlin.

Blake, who married in the Soviet Union, painted an idyllic picture of life in Moscow.

The names of Randle and Pottle have been linked previously to the Blake escape in newspaper stories. But their book, titled ″The Blake Escape: How We Freed George Blake and Why″ appears to promise the first full account.

Camilla Nicholls, spokeswoman for the book’s British publishers, Harrap Ltd., said lawyers have told the company that publication is not illegal. It is illegal to profit from criminal acts.

″We are advised the writing of the book is not a criminal act,″ said Ms. Nicholls.

Randle said he and Pottle expected to be questioned by police. ″We are prepared to go to jail if necessary,″ he said. ″We feel that our decision was a right one and we have always been prepared to take the consequences.″

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