Camelot logo 25 Marconi Scientists, 1982-88

There have been at least 25 mysterious deaths of people who worked for GEC-Marconi (the defence arm of GEC) on the Sting Ray torpedo project betwen 1982 and 1988. The death of the British defense journalist Jonathan Moyle, who was found hanged in his Santiago hotel room on April 1, 1990, has also been the subject of speculation as being connected to the Marconi deaths.

Most incidents occurred after the men have successfully completed important projects or left one job for another.
Four of the dead men were employees of the GEC group – three at Marconi and one at Easams Ltd. Two others worked at separate times at the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham. An investigation by Computer News established that most of the men were involved in computer simulation, a key part of defence procurement.

At the time GEC-Marconi was Britain's only torpedo supplier and in 1986 was awarded a £400 million order from the Ministry of Defence for advanced anti-submarine Sting Ray torpedoes. The Royal Military College at Shrivenham is also involved in a number of Britain's leading edge defense projects. The college develops new testing devices for the Ministry of Defence and is engaged as a subcontractor to defence companies on research and development.
All the men involved were ambitious and demonstrated a special ability in their particular field. After every death, police gave unofficial press briefings providing journalists with plausible though unconfirmed explanations for the accidents or apparent suicides. The major problem for police has been the lack of obvious signs of depression in any of the cases. Several British MPs demanded a government inquiry. The UK Ministry of Defence denied that these scientists had been involved in classified Star Wars Projects and that the deaths were in any way connected.

March 1982: Professor Keith Bowden, 46
Expertise: Computer programmer and scientist at Essex University engaged in work for Marconi, who was hailed as an expert on super computers and computer-controlled aircraft.
Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when his vehicle went out of control across a dual carriageway and plunged onto a disused railway line. Police maintained he had been drinking but family and friends all denied the allegation.
Coroner's verdict: Accident.
April 1983: Lt. Colonel Anthony Godley, 49
Expertise: Head of the Work Study Unit at the Royal College of Military Science.
Circumstance of Death: Disappeared mysteriously in April 1983 without explanation. Presumed dead.
March 1985: Roger Hill, 49
Expertise: Radar designer and draughtsman with Marconi.
Circumstance of Death: Died by a shotgun blast at home.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.
November 19, 1985: Jonathan Walsh, 29
Expertise: Digital communications expert who had worked at GEC and at British Telecom's secret research centre at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.
Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of falling from a hotel room in Abidjan, West Africa, while working for British Telecom. He had expressed fears that his life was in danger.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
August 5, 1986: Vimal Dajibhai, 24
Expertise: Computer software engineer with Marconi, responsible for testing computer control systems of Tigerfish and Stingray torpedoes at Marconi Underwater Systems at Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, and was also working on an SDI related simulation system.
Circumstance of Death: Dajibhai told his wife he would be working late, and then drove a hundred miles to Bristol (a city with which he had no known connection) and fell 260 feet (80 m) from the Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon. The police report on the body mentioned a needle-sized puncture wound on the left buttock, but this was later dismissed as being a result of the fall. Dajibhai had been looking forward to starting a new job in the City of London and friends had confirmed that there was no reason for him to commit suicide. At the time of his death he was in the last week of his work with Marconi.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
October 1986: Arshad Sharif, 26
Expertise: Reported to have been working on systems for the detection of submarines by satellite.
Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of placing a rope around his neck, tying the other end to a tree and then driving off in his car with the accelerator pedal jammed down. His unusual death was complicated by several issues: Sharif lived near Vimal Dajibhai (see above) in Stanmore, Middlesex, he committed suicide in Bristol and, inexplicably, had spent the last night of his life in a rooming house. He had paid for his accommodation in cash and was seen to have a bundle of high-denomination banknotes in his possession. While the police were told of the banknotes, no mention was made of them at the inquest and they were never found. In addition, most of the other guests at the rooming house worked at British Aerospace. Prior to working for Marconi, Sharif had also worked at British Aerospace on guided weapons technology.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.
January 1987: Richard Pugh, 37
Expertise: Ministry of Defence computer consultant and digital communications expert.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his flat in with his feet bound and a plastic bag over his head. Rope was tied around his body, coiling four times around his neck.
Coroner's verdict: Accident.

January 8, 1987: Avtar Singh-Gida, 26

Expertise: Researcher at the Ministry of Defence Admiralty Research Establishment, conducting tests of submarine warfare equiment.
Circumstance of Disappearance: Disappeared mysteriously in January 1987 during his doctoral thesis on underwater signal processing at Loughborough University, just three weeks away from his project's successful completion. Both mainland police and Interpol launched searches for him in several countries, without success. He eventually reappeared four months later. He had been traced to a red light district of Paris and confirmed that he did not know precisely how he had got there. Allegedly, he has retuned to his work and has said that he does not want to discuss his disappearance or the death of his colleague, Vimal Dajibhai (see above).

January 12, 1987: Dr. John Brittan, 52
Expertise: Scientist formerly engaged in top secret work at the Royal College of Military Science at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, and later deployed in a research department at the Ministry of Defence.
Circumstance of Death: Death by carbon monoxide poisoning in his own garage, shortly after returning from a trip to the US in connection with his work.
Coroner's verdict: Accident.
February 1987: David Skeels, 43
Expertise: Engineer with Marconi.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
February 1987: Victor Moore, 46
Expertise: Design Engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems.
Circumstance of Death: Died from a drug overdose. Moore had just finished work on infrared satellites at Portsmouth when he was found dead. His death is said to have instigated an MI5 investigation, the results of which remain secret. There is also a separate investigation into Marconi based at Portsmouth by the Ministry of Defence Serious Crime Squad.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.
February 22, 1987: Peter Peapell, 46
Expertise: Scientist at the Royal College of Military Science. He had been working on testing titanium for it's resistance to explosives and the use of computer analysis of signals from metals.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead allegedly from carbon monoxide poisoning, in his Oxfordshire garage. The circumstances of his death raised some elements of doubt. His wife had found him on his back with his head parallel to the rear car bumper and his mouth in line with the exhaust pipe, with the car engine running. Police were apparently baffled as to how he could have manoeuvred into the position in which he was found. It was confirmed that Peapell had shown no signs of stress which could have caused him to commit suicide. His death followed the somewhat similar death of Dr. John Brittan (see above). At the time of his death, Peapell no longer worked at the Royal College of Military Science and had moved to a research department of the Ministry of Defence. Interestingly, both Peapell and Brittan had both worked at the Royal College of Military Science and, furthermore, both had been on a recent trip to the US in connection with their work.
Coroner's verdict: Open.

March 30, 1987: David Sands, 37
Expertise: Senior scientist working for Easams of Camberley, Surrey, a sister company to Marconi. Dr. John Brittan (see above) had also worked at Camberley.
Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when he made a sudden U-turn on a dual carriageway while on his way to work, crashing at high speed into a disused cafeteria. He was found still wearing his seat belt and it was discovered that in his car were two additional five gallon cans full of petrol. None of the normal reasons for a possible suicide could be found.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
April 10, 1987: Stuart Gooding, 23
Expertise: Postgraduate research student at the Royal College of Military Science.
Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash while on holiday in Cyprus: he died instantly when his hired car collided head on with a lorry. The lorry driver was said to be unhurt. At least one senior employee at the college considered that the death could be significant. The death occurred at the same time as college personnel were carrying out exercises on Cyprus.
Coroner's verdict: Accident.

April 10, 1987 David (Robert) Greenhalgh, 46
Expertise: Contracts manager at ICL's defence division at Winnersh near Reading.
Circumstance of Death: Suffered multiple injuries after a mysterious leap from a 12m (40 ft) high railway bridge on his way to work at Maidenhead, Berkshire, the same day as Stuart Gooding's fatal car crash (see above). The firm admitted he had been positively vetted and may have had access to secret UK and NATO data. He was working on the same defense project as David Sands (see above), who had died less than two weeks earlier. He survived the fall and stated that he had no idea how or why he had leapt from the bridge. He died a few days later in hospital.

April 17, 1987: George Kountis, age unknown.
Expertise: Systems Analyst at Bristol Polytechnic.
Circumstance of Death: Drowned the same day as Shani Warren (see below) - as the result of a car accident, his upturned car being found in the River Mersey, Liverpool.
Coroner's verdict: Misadventure.
(Kountis's sister called for a fresh inquest as she thought "things didn't add up".)

April 17, 1987: Shani Warren, 26
Expertise: Personal assistant in a company called Micro Scope, which was taken over by GEC Marconi less than four weeks after her death.
Circumstance of Death: Found drowned in 18 inches of water, not far from the site of David Greenhalgh's bridge fall. Warren died exactly one week after the death of Stuart Gooding and serious injury to Greenhalgh, and the same day as the death of George Kountis (see above). She was found gagged with a noose around her neck. Her feet were also bound and her hands tied behind her back.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
(It was said that Warren had gagged herself, tied her feet with rope, then tied her hands behind her back and hobbled to the lake on stiletto heels to drown herself.)

April 24, 1987: Mark Wisner, 24
Expertise: Software engineer at the Ministry of Defence.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead on in a house shared with two colleagues. He was found with a plastic sack around his head and several feet of cling film around his face. The method of death was almost identical to that of Richard Pugh some three months earlier.
Coroner's verdict: Accident.
May 3, 1987: Michael Baker, 22
Expertise: Digital communications expert working on a defence project at Plessey; part-time member of Signals Corps SAS.
Circumstance of Death: Fatal accident owhen his car crashed through a barrier near Poole in Dorset.
Coroner's verdict: Misadventure.

June 1987: Frank Jennings, 60.
Expertise: Electronic Weapons Engineer with Plessey.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead from a heart attack.
No inquest.
January 1988: Russell Smith, 23
Expertise: Laboratory technician with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Essex.
Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of a cliff fall at Boscastle in Cornwall.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.
March 25, 1988: Trevor Knight, 52
Expertise: Computer engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems in Stanmore, Middlesex.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead at his home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire at the wheel of his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust. A St. Albans coroner said that Knight's woman friend, Miss Narmada Thanki (who also worked with him at Marconi) had found three suicide notes left by him which made clear his intentions. Miss Thanki had mentioned that Knight disliked his work but she did not detect any depression that would have driven him to suicide.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.
August 1988: Alistair Beckham, 50
Expertise: Software engineer with Plessey Defence Systems.
Circumstance of Death: Found dead after being electrocuted in his garden shed with wires connected to his body and a handkerchief stufffed in his mouth.
Coroner's verdict: Open.
August 22, 1988: Peter Ferry, 60
Expertise: Retired Army Brigadier and an Assistant Marketing Director with Marconi.
Circumstance of Death: Found on 22nd or 23rd August 1988 electrocuted in his company flat with electrical leads in his mouth.
Coroner's verdict: Open

September 1988: Andrew Hall, 33
Expertise: Engineering Manager with British Aerospace.
Circumstance of Death: Carbon monoxide poisoning in a car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.
Coroner's verdict: Suicide.