East German Couple Given 10 Years Jail for Spying
LONDON (AP) _ An East German husband and wife each were found guilty of plotting espionage and given 10-year prison terms Thursday at the end of a trial that failed to determine their true identities or the information they sought.
The couple, identified as Reinhard and Sonja Schulze, pleaded innocent and refused to testify during the nine-day trial at London’s Old Bailey criminal court.
Prosecutor Allan Green told the jury it was not known who the accused really were, what information they wanted, or whether they communicated any secrets.
An ″escape kit″ of false identity documents and cash, secret codes and other equipment found at their west London home near Heathrow Airport led to the ″irresistible conclusion″ that they were spies for East Germany, Green said.
He did not say what led Scotland Yard’s Special Branch to the house last August.
The Schulzes may have been betrayed by Oleg. A. Gordievski, identified as the KGB spymaster in Europe, who defected in London in July 1985, said Martin Macauley, senior lecturer at the London University School of Slavonic Studies.
They were accused of committing acts preparatory to the commission of an offense under Britain’s Official Secrets Act, and of having false identity documents, maps, and equipment for sending or receiving secret information and recording it.
Judge Sir Michael Davies said in passing sentence that whether the couple communicated secrets to East Germany and caused actual damage to Britain still was not known.
″What is certain is you are two intelligent, talented and determined people,″ the judge said to them. ″If you had not been detected it is virtually certain you would have done what you were sent here to do and what you made elaborate preparations to do.″
The prosecutor said Schulze, 35, a kitchen designer, and his 32-year-old wife, a technical translator, came to Britain to act as spies or secret agents for East Germany.
He said police spent a month in their house ripping out floorboards, doors, furniture and fittings, and digging up the garden.
They found money and false identity documents in the bottom of a traveling bag and spy equipment inside an air freshener in the garden shed, he said.
According to Green, the equipment included coding apparatus and a radio capable of receiving Morse code transmissions from East Germany, but not a transmitter.
When Schulze was arrested, he asked that the East German Embassy be informed and a lawyer be summoned, but would not answer questions, the judge said.
Friedbert Krebs, third secretary at the embassy, said after the trial ended that the Schulzes had been married 15 years and he visited them in prison every week to ″support them a little bit.″