UK

MI5 spy cleared of assaulting and harassing ex-girlfriend

A spy who was accused by his ex-girlfriend - also an MI5 agent - of assaulting and harassing her has been cleared at Southwark Crown Court.

The man, who was tried under the false name Mark Barton for security reasons, broke up with his partner and colleague in 2011 after a year-long relationship.

His fellow spy was referred to by her MI5 "pin number" 2363 during the trial.

He stood behind a screen as the verdict was read out to protect his identity. The jury deliberated for two hours.

The couple had what the prosecution described as an "intense and passionate" relationship which came to an end two years ago.

Mr Barton, 29, was accused of bombarding the woman with text messages and phone calls for five months to win her back and of attacking her.

But a jury of seven men and three women cleared him of two counts of assault by beating and a further count of putting a person in fear of violence by harassment.

During the trial he denied he had behaved violently, saying: "That's absolute, total nonsense. I've never been physically aggressive to her in my life."

He told the court his girlfriend had been insecure about his friendships with other women and when he was arrested described her as "a woman scorned" who had "decided to take retribution in the most painful way she knows... through costing me my job potentially."

The pair met in 2009 while working at MI5.

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