18 May 2016
The nuclear weapons technician on the run since he blew the whistle on 30 alleged safety and security flaws on Trident submarines has said that he is going to give himself up to police today.
In a new public post on Facebook just after 1pm, William McNeilly (25) said that had achieved what he wanted. "I set out to gather as much information as possible, as fast as possible, inform you and the government before getting caught, then hand myself into the police," he said.
"I will be handing myself into the police today." Trident was "a broken system", he claimed. "If you continue to defend it sooner or later more truth will come out or a catastrophe will happen."
The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has this afternoon launched a petition to pardon McNeilly. "He should be commended for exposing the poor safety standards on nuclear submarines and not persecuted," it says.
McNeilly accused the Royal Navy of playing down his 18-page dossier alleging fire risks, leaks, a flood and security breaches on the submarines that carry Britain's nuclear weapons. The navy has said his report contains "subjective and unsubstantiated personal views, made by a very junior sailor, with which the naval service completely disagrees."
He said: "Responding by downplaying a report because there’s lack of seniority, acting like your security system is impenetrable and your aged system is still in excellent condition for sailing, is not an adequate response. Anyone who can use simple logic will not believe that."
McNeilly also gave an insight to his life on the run over the last few days. "I have moved between countries, changed location almost every day, stuck to mainly communicating through the deep web and used multiple aliases when I could, but I lack the resources to remain undetected," he said.
He said it hadn't been an easy path to walk down. "After working my ass off, putting my life on the line and sacrificing pretty much all I had to warn you and government. I’ll be awarded with free meals and free accommodation, in prison."
He stressed that he had tried to raise his concerns with senior officers, and that he had not released information that could have put security at risk. "My motives are clearly to protect the people and land. Whatever happens, don’t worry about me; I’ll be alright. There’s bigger things to be concerned about right now than me. Focus should be maintained on peacefully removing the threat."