Carlo Neri (alias)
Carlo Neri is the alias of an undercover police officer who infiltrated the Socialist Party and anti-fascists groups. He was active from 2001 to 2006 and based in north and central London - which makes it likely he served with the Special Demonstration Squad.
Much of the following information comes from interviews with various members of the Socialist Party and anti-fascist activists who knew Carlo, worked with him and befriended him, and in particular from two of his partners while undercover.
An investigation conducted through summer and autumn 2015 by the Undercover Research Group together with those spied upon provided sufficient material to identify Carlo's real name and documents confirming he was a serving police officer at the time (details below). We decided not to publish Carlo's real surname as its distinctiveness would invade the privacy of various parties who are not otherwise involved.
Carlo Neri was exposed on Newsnight and in the Guardian in January 2016. It took the police and the Pitchford Inquiry ten months to acknowledge that he indeed had been an undercover officer at the time.
In April 2019, journalist Michael Gillard revealed Carlo's real name Sorrachi on Twitter. Gillard is an investigative journalist who has a particular interest in police corruption.
N.B. This page is a work in process; we welcome additions from those who encountered Carlo. Contact us here, PGP available on request.
- 1 Personal Details
- 2 Occupation
- 3 Vehicles
- 4 Activities: Groups
- 5 Activism: Specific Events
- 6 Residences & Relationships overview
- 7 Exit
- 8 Contact details
- 9 Suspicions
- 10 Locating and confirming the real Carlo
- 11 Relationship with other undercovers
- 12 In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
- 13 Other resources on Carlo Neri
- 14 Notes
Carlo was a large man, with thinning black hair that he kept short and a beard that he kept trimmed as a goatee or allowed to grow long. One ear was pierced. He gave his birthday as 12 February 1971. He was considered a friendly, sociable person who was 'good crack to be around', and a 'genuinely nice fella'.
He said very little about his political background prior to becoming a member of the Socialist Party, and visitors to his first known residence noticed nothing political other than a few left-leaning novels. He did not give the impression of looking for information and nor did he seem interested in reading up on stuff (though he would not have been unusual in this). He is considered to have weak politics, not talking much about stuff; people who knew him said they had no Marxist or Trotskyite conversations with him, but rather tended to discuss music and football. In terms of music he had what was described as the 'usual Italian left classics'.
He was a keen supporter of Arsenal, though he had a love of rugby in Italy. His partner at the time, Andrea, wrote that he 'was a huge fan of Bologna - we went to see them in England and in Italy - in England the only team we went to see play was Fulham when they were housed at QPR.' (QPR refers to the Loftus Road stadium of Queens Park Rangers in West London) He was also into speed cycling, and despite his size his muscles looked as a cyclist's. Andrea recalls an album with lots of photos of him at various cycling races when younger, and also of him snorkelling and diving. By the time he was living with her, Carlo was much more in to motorbikes, including using the email address, 'MinesADucati@Yahoo.co.uk'. 
He was one of the few people in the Socialist Party who had a car, which meant he was often called on to help with house moves, etc. He was also willing to take other people on long drives to other parts of the country, including Cornwall.
Interviewees have told us that though Carlo talked about doing illegal activities quite a lot, they have no knowledge of him breaking the law through his political activism. He claimed to have been detained in Italy for urinating in a police car, but this was far removed from his activity in the UK.
Background & Family
Neri claimed to be a Londoner of Italian background, (he told several activists that he was born in the UK, and London in particular) whose family had run a café for before moving back to Italy when Carlo was 14 or 15 - which must have been around 1985. He had only been back in the UK a year or so when he came on the political scene in 2001. There were no relatives left in London. He implied to his partner Andrea that the family background had been troubled and involved domestic abuse; at another point he told her he did not get on with his father as he had sexually abused Carlo's sister. These accounts of troubled relations do not seem to correspond with the many visits to his father and his distress over his ill health.
His father, Enrico (Rico), lived in Bologna and Carlo would go away for several weeks at a time, supposedly to visit him, especially towards the end of his presence on the scene. According to Andrea his father died around January 2004, and other activists remember Carlo speaking of how ill his father was and crying over the phone. His mother Eva Neri, supposedly died ca. 2001, of ovarian cancer in Italy. He also spoke of a sister Cristina, "Ren", who lived outside of the London (Luton / Cambridgeshire direction), who was apparently ill and he visited regularly. He told Andrea that Cristina lived near Peterborough, suffered from depression and had a strained relationship with her husband, by whom she had two children. He also spoke of being close to a female cousin, a nurse in Italy. There were photos of all these family members in his photo-album.
Visitors to his first flat noted he had less than ten books, none of which were recalled as being in Italian. While with Andrea he did have books in Italian, particularly those of Italo Calvino the Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels; she described his collection as 'mainly political or serious novels, Chomsky, some photography books and no rubbish'.
About a year into being on the scene, Neri started mentioning that he had son, 'Robbie' / 'Roberto', who lived with his mother. He was supposed to be three years old in December 2002. The story was that he was the product of a short relationship with an older woman, Anne, he had met while acting as a locksmith at the family home in North London. At first she did not want Carlo to be involved with raising Robbie, but she subsequently moved to Cornwall and wanted him to help out while she travelled to work. To another activist he said he had re-established contact with his son and would go away for several days at a time to visit him. There seems to have been some secrecy implied in letting this on, and it was only told to people sometime after he came on the scene, and it seemed a big deal for him that he was letting people know. He did have pictures of Robbie while living with Andrea, some together with other family pictures out on a bookshelf in the flat.
At first he acted as a locksmith, saying he worked for the locksmiths and tools company, Franchi in Hackney It is of notice that he was a genuine locksmith and changed the locks on the houses for various people in and around the Socialist Party. According to Andrea he was indeed handy with such stuff, for instance he managed to open the car of an activist who had left the keys inside by accident.
He was also a good cook, doing genuine Bolognese cuisine and was at ease cooking for large numbers of people - he once cooked a Burns night meal for 50-60 people at Andrea's flat. At one point he took various friends to an Italian restaurant, De Santis on Old Street, and cooked them a meal there, claiming it belonged to a friend of his father This was shortly before he took up a job as a chef at an Italian import/export company. He said he had never planned to be a cook/chef, but had fallen into it through this friend - and that he was trying out different jobs.
Circa October/November 2003 he said he held a job with a North London delicatessen / restaurant / catering firm which was involved in importing food, and on whose behalf he would have to do considerable travelling to Modena and elsewhere to purchase food. The job allowed him to give a friend an Italian coffee maker as a present. At another point, he turned up at a party of an SP activist with a very large bottle (storage jar size) of wine, saying the delivery man for the company he was working for brought it back from Italy for him.
He was very big into to the history of Italian coffee in the UK, and was also apparently trained in fixing coffee machines. He was noted for his fondness for veal, and for always having fine food around. Andrea also noted that despite not having much money, they did eat out quite a bit in nice restaurants, including some that were quite expensive.
Unlike others around him, Neri had a car, which meant he was called on to help out with various things. He was ready to use it to help others on the political scene. In his time with Andrea he had two cars (one blue, one black), both estates loaned to him by his work. He also owned a Suzuki motorbike which he had purchased on moving in with her - he claimed that his work had loaned him the money for it, and he had paid them back. She also said of him that in hindsight 'he drove like a cop'.
Carlo principle activities were with the Socialist Party. He claimed he had been involved with Anti-Fascist Action (which had dissolved as an organisation by then) and that he had connections to the Red Brigades (the revolutionary group in Italy), though without giving detail. By mentioning the Red Brigades in conversation he may have been on a ‘fishing expedition’ not realising that the SP is opposed to all terrorism.
Carlo's first identified arrival on the political scene in North London was in 2001 when he started talking to Socialist Party (SP) members on a demonstration in London. The Socialist Party is a Trotskyist political party previously known as Militant (Labour). It also worked through the group Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE), which had been previously targeted by another undercover, Peter Francis. When Carlo wanted to join the Hackney branch of the party, his details were passed on to local SP members who visited to sound him out - which was normal procedure.
Carlo regularly attended SP branch meetings in Hackney and Camden, and became friends with party members - in particular with 'Andy' and his partner. (Andy was under constant attention from the police at the time, including on occasion being followed). He did have some involvement in YRE, but the organisation was winding down at that point. Carlo did befriend Belgian activist who was involved in the international wing of the SP in London and who attended a number of international meetings. The fact that Carlo 'latched onto him' indicates that he was interested in obtaining information about the international work of the Socialist Party - campaigning work in trade unions, strikes, housing campaigns anti-racist and anti-fascist work across Europe.
The Socialist Party was also involved in stewarding anti-war demonstrations and anti-fascist events. Carlo did present himself as a big bloke who could handle himself if needed, and talked himself up about being an anti-fascist to some activists. However, he came across as being wary of taking part in confrontations and as someone who through their size had never had the need to fight. Still, he did attend a number of protests, including on occasion driving a carload of people to anti-fascist demonstrations, the last recalled time being in Shenfield circa 2005. There are no accounts of him being arrested.
Carlo went out of his way to befriend leading figures of the Socialist Party. For instance, people remember that when going to the ESF event in Florence (see below), he travelled with the General Secretary and National Treasurer of the Party.
Carlo had three relationships while undercover, one of them with Andrea (see below). Speaking of her time with him, Andrea said it felt like they attended every social event in the Socialist Party calendar across London. In particular, in June 2003 he and Andrea attended a party at the house of the daughter of Socialist Party general secretary; noticeable in that it gave Carlo an opportunity to meet many more SP people across all of London and lead to invites to other SP events.
Activism: Specific Events
As noted above, Carlo seemed to be talking up his desire to be confrontational while in fact he actively avoided situations of public order or confrontation. He was more notable for his absence from a number of significant events, including the Socialist Party presence at the front of a large anti-Iraq war protest in London in late 2002.
- Bradford Riots: July 2001
- On 7 July 2001, the Anti Nazi League had called a rally in the city of Bradford, following attempts by the British National Party and the National Front to organise in the city. The aftermath saw serious rioting, many people got arrested and a number sent to jail. Carlo drove a group of north London activists to Bradford to support the Anti Nazi League protest. They stayed in Leeds overnight. It appears that driving them up was his main contribution.
- European Social Forum, 2002
- Anti War demo: February 2003
- Attended the protest in London with a number of his friends from the Socialist Party, and acted as a lead steward.
- Red, White and Blue Festival: April 2004
- The Red, White and Blue Festival was an annual gathering of British National Party activists. In 2004 it took place near Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex, and it is known that Carlo was among a group of anti-fascists who had gathered to protest against it.
- Picket of the RMT Union, 2004.
- In 2004, rail worker Steve Hedley lost his work through a contrived set of demands from rail contractor Westinghouse. A longtime activist with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), where he has since become an assistant general secretary, Hedley was at the time working as a rail testing engineer for a rail agency, which in turn was contracted by the major engineering company Westinghouse. When a box of equipment went missing, Westinghouse demanded that Hedlay personally pay the cost of its replacement (£800), turning down the agency's offer to pay for it. On Hedley's refusal to pay, Westinghouse inappropriately denied him the right to work with them, an action effectively amounting to him being fired.
- During a campaign to have Hedley reinstated, Carlo Neri appears behind a banner at a picket. Blacklisting firm The Consulting Association held a specific 'Rail file' (which was subsequently destroyed). There is considerable concern that, as with Special Branch undercovers Mark Jenner and Peter Francis, information gathered by Carlo was fed into illegal industry blacklists. (Photographer Andrew Wiard went through his archives and put together a page of Carlo Neri at the RMT picket; two previews shown here.)
- Shenfield: ca. 2005
- Carlo drove people to a demonstration against a BNP rally in Shenfield organised by the Anti Nazi League and helped steward the demo.
Inciting to violence: Fiore's charity shop
In one incident, circa 2003-2004, Neri claimed that a charity shop in North London was a front for a fascist training camp in Spain, run by Italian fascist and suspect Bologna bomber, Roberto Fiore. He came up with a plan to petrol bomb it and tried to involve others, but this drunken scheme was never followed through.
More details were published in the second print of the book Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists by Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith and journalist Phil Chamberlain, which appeared in September 2016.
The Guardian summarised the update under the heading Police spy accused of urging anti-racist activists to commit arson:
- Two anti-fascist activists claim the undercover officer suggested the idea at a New Year’s Eve party they were attending.
- Joe Batty, one of the activists, said Neri had proposed that they go and see the charity shop, which was a few minutes’ walk away in London. He said that he and his fellow activists had been drinking, but Neri less so. He said a group went round to see the shop and then returned to the party at Neri’s home. According to Batty, Neri then made the suggestion in an indirect way. “He said something along the lines of ‘it would be unfortunate if it was set alight’, or something like that. It was leading the horses to water to see if they would drink.”
- Batty, a social worker, said he believed Neri was fishing around to see who in the group might take an interest in the idea. He said he had grown close to Neri, who had often said he felt strongly about the 1980 bombing of Bologna railway station, in which 85 people were killed, claiming that his parents came from that region of Italy. The charity shop was run by an Italian fascist who had fled to London and been convicted in his absence of being a member of a group implicated in the Bologna bombing.
- Dan Gilman, another anti-fascist activist befriended by Neri, said that shortly after the New Year’s Eve party, Neri raised the suggestion again. “There was definitely talk of a petrol bomb from him,” he said. He and Batty had been in a car that the undercover spy had driven past the charity shop. According to Gilman, Neri said this was to “show us how to do what had been talked about”.
- Batty and Gilman, a teacher, said they would not have set fire to the shop because they reject all forms of terrorism.
Solicitors have been instructed to file a complaint against Neri to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Residences & Relationships overview
When Jay first met him, in 2001, Carlo lived in a small house in Hackney which Jay described as feeling empty or just moved into, but also clean and organised. He then moved to a small one bed flat above a shop also in Hackney, (some remember it as a shared house).
From very early on, Carlo referred to himself as single and indicated he was interested in having a relationship. Having presented as a kind person, his new friends were supportive in this.
Within six months in the party, he began a relationship with Lindsay, which lasted a few months before coming to an end(see below). Carlo then disappeared for a significant period time, though on his return he quickly started a relationship with Andrea in September 2002 (see below), and moved in with her at her place on the other side of north central London in November 2002. After their 18-20 month relationship ended in May 2004, he went to a flat near the Barbican that belonged to activists who had left the city for six months until November 2004.
He then moved into the house of another SP activist, 'Mike' for approximately 8-10 moths until October 2005, though he was rarely there ('barely stayed a dozen nights'), which did not arouse suspicion as he had started dating Beth (see below). In the same period, Neri told 'Bill', then an organiser with a trade union, that being made homeless he was looking for a place to stay. Bill said he could use his spare room, which he did for eight weeks, though he would disappear for days at a time without contact.
After the relationship with Andrea ended he embarked on a third relationship, with Beth. He moved in with her in 2006, leaving Bill's house at this point as well. The two of them subsequently disappeared from the scene later that year.
Within six months of his first appearance on the scene, Carlo hit it off with 'Lindsey', an ex SP member, at a night out with Hackney SP friends. 'Mike' remembers how Carlo called him on the way to their first date a few days later, asking for directions and advice, sounding genuinely excited to be meeting her. They started a relationship soon afterwards and continued to see each other very regularly, often at Carlo's flat in Hackney, and sometimes at Lindsey's flat in South London. Though socialising a lot together, the only thing she was never invited to were Carlo's nights out with his 'football friends'. The story was that these friends were connected to his work as a locksmith (at Totteridge and Whetstone), and they would play or watch football together. Lindsey was never introduced to any of them.
Some months after they met Carlo began to mention to Lindsey that he had a young son from a short previous relationship, but had not seen him since his son was a baby. He told her that this was a secret, as he was confused as to what to do and to tell people. He sought her advice as to if he should re-establish contact, and she encouraged him to do so, yet he didn't during the remainder of their relationship. Carlo had pictures of his son which he showed to Lindsey, and then to other friends, as his son became less of a 'secret'.
After their first date in May 2001, Carlo continued a seemingly committed relationship with Lindsey. In September that year he travelled to her home town for her surprise birthday party and was introduced to her family and some of her oldest friends. In December, Carlo booked them a surprise holiday to Venice, and voiced intentions to make this a relationship with longevity. (Pictures of this holiday can be found at the bottom of this page.)
In early 2002 however, Carlo began to 'disappear' for 3-4 day periods at a time. The explanation he gave for being completely unreachable during these times was that he was with football mates, one of whom needed his emotional support. This behaviour led Lindsey to lose trust in Carlo's commitment to their relationship and as a result it began to falter, finally ending in roughly April 2002, after just less than 12 months.
Towards the end of their relationship, Carlo's mother apparently became ill and he claimed to have visited her in Italy. At first he was quite upbeat about her recovery, but later he told his friends that she was seriously ill. Although their relationship had ended, he talked to Lindsey about his father's apparently serious illness. They met up as friends a small number of times after that.
According to Andrea, she met Carlo on an anti-War protest on 28th September 2002, where he was with a group of SP members; he soon moved in with her to her north London housing association flat in November that year. About their relationship she says: 'We were pretty much inseparable at this stage and he seemed keen for me to be involved in all aspects of his (London) social life and political life'. In December 2002, they would make several trips to Scotland, first to the graduation of Andrea's sister, and the second to go to a Stiff Little Fingers gig in Kilmarnock - this was apparently at Carlo's suggestion, and they went with another prominent anti-fascist. This is when she first learns Carlo had a son.
At the Hogmanay Party they threw at her flat on January 2003, Carlo proposed to her and she accepted. He also encouraged her to get pregnant, though she was not keen on having a child at that stage of her life. They travelled to Bologna for his birthday in February 2003, but did not meet his family although they were engaged. He did become very intertwined with her family life though, including ringing them / sending cards of his own volition and joining them on a holiday to Whitby in March 2003. They also had various trips to Cornwall with Andy throughout 2002 and 2003.
Normally Andrea organised and paid for any holidays; the only exception to this was a two week trip to France organised for August 2003, which Carlo cancelled the day before, saying his father was ill - this was the only trip which fell through. From Autumn 2003 he was being away much more often than he had been previously, mainly to see his sick father in Italy or his son in Cornwall or so he said, combined with regular work trips.
December 2003, Carlo was meant to spend Christmas with Andrea, but he changed plans at the last minute, saying he was going to Italy as his father was sick. Rang in New Year to say he was staying in Italy a bit longer as his father had very little time left to live.
From January 2004, Andrea described him as becoming 'increasingly volatile', which at the time she put down to his father's death. He started talking about self-harm, and mentioned that he had a previously history of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. In April 2004 he disappeared for a week and was uncontactable for that time. This caused her concern given his previous conversations about self-harm. When he returned he provided her with the account of being jailed for urinating in a police car in Italy.
At the end of April / early May 2004 Andrea received notice on her existing flat and they were supposed to be looking for a place to live together. They kept seeing each other regularly after a gap of several weeks, and he helped her move house several times but they did not live together anymore. By this time he was staying in the Barbican flat. Their relationship continued with him sending her letters, emails, cards and gifts until in November 2004 she received an email saying he no longer wanted contact.
Originally from Brighton, Beth was a 'special needs' teacher in Stratford and lived in North London. She was also a trumpet player in a ska band and not politically active. She was introduced to Carlo by their mutual friend 'Mike' at a gig she had been playing at. They dated briefly, but shortly afterwards she went to Australia for an extended trip. In the meantime, Neri had started a relationship with Andrea. It was not until after she came back from Australia that they got together, sometime in 2005/2006. As with Andrea, Carlo moved in with her soon after, giving up his other two rooms.
One activist who knew them both wrote at the time in her diary on 17 January 2005, 'Carlo on the other hand has just disappeared from the face of the earth - it must be love.' Though she would meet him several days later, and again at a dinner party in May 2005.
Reflecting on the relationship between Carlo and Beth in hindsight, it was thought it was genuine, and some thought he married her. The most recent investigations seem to confirm that Carlo and Beth indeed marry and have a daughter, although no official documentation has been found yet.
'Mike', who knew Carlo through the Socialist Party and had allowed him to stay at his house, noted that Neri was away a lot throughout 2006. He was also exhibiting signs of distress, including having a tearful breakdown at a party in 'Mike's flat, after he had been given an Arsenal T-shirt with his name on the back as a birthday present.
After Carlo got together with Beth, he moved in with her, and spoke of his son Robbie coming to live with him. Beth and Carlo moved away in 2006, apparently with the intention of getting married. Contact was soon lost, despite various people leaving messages for him by email and mobile; there were a couple of phone conversations but he did not respond to texts. One interviewee described his disappearance as 'gradual but total', a process starting with the striking up of the relationship with Beth. Cutting everyone off including people who considered him a good friend was considered odd at the time.
The only known contact after this was in August 2007, when 'Mike' encountered Carlo at a wedding of a mutual friend. He appeared to be still with Beth. They arranged to meet up, but Carlo did not respond to attempts to make an appointment.
Carlo's mobile was 07951 843 422; it was active until 2014, when people who knew him left messages on it, but it has subsequently been disconnected. He used the emails email@example.com  and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neri disappeared from the North London political scene quite suddenly and hardly left any traces. Until recently, this did not raise many questions, though there were jokes at social events about the 'invisible Carlo', but little more than that. However, as greater understanding of how undercover police emerged, particularly through the Rob Evans and Paul Lewis book, Undercover, it became clear that he fitted the profile. As well as his disappearance, it was clear he had more things in common with other undercovers that had been exposed. For instance, he did not have much of a political past, nobody ever met his family, he had cars conveniently used to transport activists, he tended to disappear for long periods in time, to name a few. Though as such these similarities do not prove anything and can easily be explained away, it was reason enough for some of those who knew him to start asking questions and dig further.
From these conversations, various issues and questions about his activities emerged:
- He had no credit card in his name, and apparently refused to have one; thus when it came to big expenses during their relationship, Andrea would pay rather than him. He would always pay in cash as a result, which he did not seem short of but he was generous in buying gifts and paying when eating out - including in quite expensive restaurants, and the flow always seeming to be there. Andrea mentioned that during the end of his period with her, there was a 'tangible shift in behaviour towards money', but he was 'generally evolving into someone who was more difficult and volatile' at the time. In hindsight, she saw this as making himself 'unlikeable' in order to extract himself and noted that in his final six months on the scene 'his financial generosity kicked in again'.
- In May 2004 when he was helping an activist move house and brought a Transit instead of the requested Luton van. When told, he went away and came back with the Luton van, though he had no obvious way of paying for its hire. He also managed to acquire this Luton between midnight and 7am.
- At several times he made mention of the Red Brigade, which was considered out of place as the politics of the Socialist Party did not support such activities. Others at the time considered it an attempt to impress. It is now thought that this is to similar to undercover officer Peter Francis' hinting at Baader Meinhof connections.
- Though he spoke of his family and seemed to be close to them, spending quite some time away apparently visiting them, nobody ever met them. Although he had proposed to Andrea, he never introduced her to his family. Jay noted that though he talked about his family they 'remained hidden'. When an activist travelled to Bologna for a holiday, Carlo arranged for his father to book them a place to stay and suggest places to visit. Though his father supposedly lived in there, the tips were nothing that would not been in a tourist guide, and his friends never got to meet the father.
- The apparent closeness to his family, and his father specifically, did not seem to correspond with the earlier stories about troubled relationships due to domestic abuse.
- One activist who knew Carlo well, recalled having dinner with Carlo at Carluccio's restaurant in Smithfield in March 2004. He told her that his father, who had recently passed away, had sexually abused Carlo's sister. The activist, who through their work at the time was used to such disclosures, recalled that what Carlo had said had not rung true, coming across as 'clunky' and 'feeling wrong'.
- Around 2005 there were oddities is relationships with individuals. When one person returned to London after several months away, Carlo despite having previously been close to them, made no effort to reconnect with them.
- Despite the Bologna family connection, Neri demonstrated very little knowledge of the prominent fascist Roberto Fiore who was alleged to have been behind the infamous bombing of the train station there. However, there is the incident when he claims one of the alleged bombers being in London - as mentioned above.
- Carlo's son Robbie was a mystery. Lindsay knew of him and saw photographs of him. Andrea too was told of his existence a month into their relationship. There were no pictures of him in Carlo's otherwise complete and organised photograph album. Andrea says the album contained photos tracking his whole life, not many people would have an album so 'meticulously catalogued' and 'orderly'. When he lived with her, Carlo had pictures of his family including his son out on a shelf in their flat. Beth, the partner he disappeared with, is the only one who claimed she actually had met the boy back in the day.
- Piecing together Carlo's chronology, there were inconsistencies in what he told people - in hindsight. Carlo always said he left the UK to go to Italy in 1985 / 1986, at the age of 14 or 15 years old. He claimed he did not come back until around 2000/2001, when he would have been 29 or 30. His reluctance to speak Italian seems odd against having spent 15 odd years in Italy at a formative age. And while talking about his son born in the UK and having the age of three in December 2002,) does not fit with when he supposedly came back to England. (Of course there are always inconsistencies in the timeline that are caused by failing memories of people involved).
- There were hardly any tracks of Carlo in official registers. He is not on the electoral register while living in the Barbican property, which was one of the early points of suspicion. and he then disappears from public records.
Locating and confirming the real Carlo
While putting together the profile of Carlo, as part of the research we conducted a detailed search on public records. It turned out that other than his known activist years, Carlo Neri is a ghost (in the parlance), leaving next to no trace in public records or search engines. An Electoral Roll search found Carlo at known addresses for him in the years 2002-2005. Eliminating others of the same name, it was possible to confirm that there were no further mentions of him in public records before or after he was active in the Socialist Party.
After a number of leads failed to materialise, a break-through was achieved when the name Carlo was found associated with Beth under a different surname, one that was quite distinctive. A search on that name identified a family who shared all the first names that Carlo had used when he talked about his family. On top of that, they owned a North London Italian delicatessen, which fitted the occupational part of his legend. Andrea was then able to confirm definitively that images of the family on social media and websites were the same she had seen in Carlo's photo album.
With the surname now confirmed, it was possible to discover documents from public records that named him as a serving police officer at the time he was infiltrating.
When we added the new information about his family to the timeline, it emerged that his relation with Beth started about 6-8 months after his wife gave birth to their second child. The fact that he registered at Beth's address under his real name was a major slip up that allowed us to trace him. The need for an official address may be explained by Carlo leaving his wife to move away with Beth. This occurred around the same time he was extracting himself from his undercover role.
Due to the highly unusual nature of Carlo's second name, it would immediately lead to the identification of his family which includes teenage children. For this reason alone, and no other, a decision has been taken to not reveal the undercover's real name.
Relationship with other undercovers
Undercover turned whistleblower Peter Francis himself infiltrated the Socialist Party and YRE from 1995 to 1997. He has not - or not yet - revealed anything about other Special Demonstration Squad officers infiltrating the Socialist Party and its previous incarnation, Militant Labour, or its off-shoots such as Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE).
Some of the people in the affinity group of north London anti-fascist activists that Neri attached himself to had known undercover officer Mark Jenner as well, though for most it was not a close connection, as noted above.
In the Undercover Policing Inquiry
In August 2017, the Metropolitan police and lawyers for Neri submitted applications for anonymity, including a risk assessment (see below for the list of material submitted). Neri, his current partner and his sister claimed to be concerned about violence being used by (ex)members of the groups he targeted and of media intrusion, and the efforts of those with IT skills to ascertain his real name and whereabouts. 'These concerns are not irrational and have some basis in fact', Mitting summarised. Also, according to Prof Fox, (in his report of 8 March 2017), HN104 suffers from significant mental health conditions.
At this point in time, Mitting was opposed to publishing of the real name of Carlo Neri (and of other undercover officers for that matter) as it would interfere with Article 8(2) of the Euopean Convention of Human Rights, the right to private and family life. Also, the Chair stated, those who claim sexual relationships with him would not need to know his real name in order to give evidence in acts committed by him under his cover name. Mitting suggests Neri can give evidence from behind a screen.
However, the case of Carlo Neri was notable in that the people who investigated him discovered his real name in the process of confirming he was an undercover officer. Thus, responding to the Inquiry, the Non-Police/State Core Participants or NPSCPs (as the people spied upon are called in the Inquiry) explained they already knew Carlo's real name. Mitting asked the NPSCPs to reconsider their position that HN104's real name should be released. They declined as the Inquiry failed to publish any further details on Neri.
In October 2017, Mitting wrote that he could not prevent publication of Neri's real name by other parties outside of the Inquiry. And during the public hearing of 21 November, it was effectively recognised that Carlo's real name was going to be published, the matter effectively reduced to who did it. Mitting requested that the NPSCPs stayed their hand on releasing the real name until a closed hearing was held to consider management of the process. Mitting had also modified his position more general, stating during the opening of the hearings of November 2017, that there was a moral obligation that where women had been targeted for relationships by undercover police there was a moral obligation to disclose real names to any women so deceived.
On 20 December 2017, the Inquiry Chair issued a second 'Minded-To' in relation to HN104, in which he said he was delaying a decision in order to allow dicussions between various parties to take place 'to see if they can agree a way of ensuring that details in respect of "Carlo Neri" can be made known to those who need to know them while avoiding harm to [Carlo's] children'. A deadline of 31 March 2018 for submissions to be made before he made his ruling. This change in tone appears to have come following representation by his family. He also put forward the idea:
- One possible option, which has been used in other inquiries, would be to require HN104 to give evidence publicly and in his real name, but to impose an order restricting publication of the real name outside the hearing from. If that were to be done, I would impose a restriction order in respect of his real name before the hearing, so that no published document would contain it.
Earlier in the same ruling, he also wrote:
- [Carlo] has given a number of different and inconsistent accounts of his relationships with women during his deployment and has been less than frank about them.
Real name: Carlo Soracchi
In April 2019, journalist Michael Gillard revealed Carlo's real name Sorrachi on Twitter. Gillard is an investigative journalist who has a particular interest in police corruption. A couple of weeks later, Gillard published his exchange with the former undercover's lawyer; Carlo declines the invitation to be interviewed, saying he will 'provide his full story to the Inquiry'.
The women affected were not made aware that the journalist would make the name public, nor was anyone else who was spied on by him. As explained above, the name had been known to them since they found out the truth about Carlo in 2015. Mitting initially refused to grant a restriction order on Neri’s real name, but then went on to appeal to the ‘humanity’ and judgment of the women affected to keep the name confidential, for the sake of his family. With this, the Chair had placed the women in an extremely difficult and distressing position 'using emotional blackmail to silence us'.
In a statement published by the women's support group Police Spies Out of Live, they say that the Inquiry should have named him; 'Carlo Neri waived his anonymity when he chose to deceive, manipulate and emotionally and sexually abuse women in this appalling way':
- Sir John Mitting promised when he took over as Chair of the UCPI that if during the course of the Inquiry a woman discovered she had a relationship with an undercover police officer she had a right to know the officer’s real name, and the Inquiry would inform her of it:
- He then went on to state that it would be her decision whether or not to publish the real name in the public domain. In doing this, Mitting has misrepresented it to be a personal and moral issue. We believe that this is a deeply unfair burden for any woman who has been deceived into an abusive relationship to have to carry. And it is not merely a personal issue – these inhumane and degrading relationships were state-sanctioned. This is part of a shocking anti-democratic scandal and should be viewed in this context, as a political issue.
Andrea and Lindsay are relieved that Soracchi’s name is now in the public domain and that finally there is some accountability. Unite called for ‘no stone’ to be left unturned now that Carlo's true identity has been revealed.
August 2017 application documents
Applications from MPS & N104's lawyer to restrict publication of real name only; also received were personal statements from his family and expert medical report; final risk assessment from MPS awaited. Open versions published: open application for restriction order (MPS), open application for restriction order (S&G), Open supplementary application for restriction order (S&G), open medical assessment, open personal statement (1), open personal statement (2), open statement by HN104's partner, open statement by HN104's relative
On 7 August 2018, Sir John Mitting granted an order restricting the real name of Carlo / HN104, despite representation from those he targeted that it be released. He did this in the name of protecting Carlo's family.
Other resources on Carlo Neri
- Undercover Research Group blog, How we proved Carlo Neri was an undercover police officer, 18 January 2016.
- Rob Evans, Woman who was engaged to police spy sues Met over 'psychological torture', The Guardian, 18 January 2016.
- Richard Watson & Maria Polachowska, Undercover policeman proposed to activist, Newsnight, 18 January 2016.
- Newsnight on YouTube, Undercover policeman who proposed to activist exposed - BBC Newsnight, 18 January 2016.
- Socialist Party Press statement, Police infiltration of the Socialist Party, 18 January 2016.
- Andrea's Story, PoliceSpiesOutOfLives.org.uk, 2016 (various links). See also, Andrea, I too was tricked into loving an undercover police officer. It was no accident, The Guardian, 15 May 2017.
Pre-publication of the second edition of the book Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain:
- Conrad Landin, Spy cop told activists to BURN charity, Morning Star, 15 September 2016.
- Rob Evans, Police spy accused of urging anti-racist activists to commit arson, The Guardian, 15 September 2016.
- Undercover Research Group: interview with 'Mike' & 'John', Socialist Party activists, 22 June 2015; all names have been anonymized on request.
- Undercover Research Group: conversation with 'Andy', 'Andrea' & 'Fred', activists who knew and worked with Carlo, 14 July 2015; names have been anonymized at their request.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Andrea', who was in a relationship with Carlo. Her name has been anonymized on request.
- Undercover Policing Inquiry, Update on anonymity applications - N104 ("Carlo Neri"), 16 November 2016 (accessed November 2016)
- See photos of Carlo Neri.
- First email from 'Jay' to Undercover Research Group, 9 July 2015.
- Interview with 'Jay', Undercover Research Group, 9 July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: Email from 'Andrea', 16 July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Andy', July 2015.
- Emails from 'Bill', July 2015.
- Email from 'Mike' to Undercover Research Group, 30 June 2015.
- Email from 'Jay' to Undercover Research Group, 16 July 2015.
- Franchi PLC is based near King's Cross, and currently has three showrooms - Holloway Road, Kentish Town Road and Grey' Inn Road. See Franchi PLC - contact (accessed 28 June 2015).
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'John', 15 July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Jay', 9 July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Caro', a Socialist Party activist who knew Carlo, 5 November 2015.
- Email from Mike, 11 January 2016, after consultation with Bill, Andrea, Caro, John and two others.
- Andrea was meant to go with him, but due to a family illness she passed on her ticket to another activist who did meet Carlo in Florence.
- Steve Hedley: standing up for agency workers, Workers Liberty, 21 October 2004 (accessed 6 June 2016).
- Conrad Landin, Blacklist Spy Cop Scandal Reaches Britain's Railways, Morning Star, 6 June 2016 (accessed 6 June 2016).
- Rob Evans, Police spy accused of urging anti-racist activists to commit arson, the Guardian, 15 September 2016 (accessed September 2016
- Conrad Landin, Spy cop told activists to BURN charity, Morning Star, 15 September 2016 (accessed September 2016)
- Statement from 'Lindsay' to the Undercover Research Group December 2015 and email 12 January 2016, updated 19 July 2018.
- The confirmation came via friends of friends of friends getting back in touch, but no marriage or birth certificate has been located yet. Email from Mike, 11 January 2016, after consultation with Bill, Andrea, Caro, John and two others.
- Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, Undercover: The true story of Britain's secret police, Guardian Faber, 6 March 2014.
- Undercover Research Group: email from 'Andrea', 17 July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: a search to locate Carlo Neri in public records was conducted in September 2015, but no trace was found.
- Undercover Research Group: Electoral Roll search conducted June - July 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: unpublished research, October 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: conversations with Andrea, October 2015.
- Undercover Research Group: copies of these documents are in the group's possession.
- John Mitting, In the matter of section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad ‘Minded to’ note, Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- Ruth Brander & Philippa Kaufmann QC, Submissions on behalf of the non-police, non-state core participants re the Chairman's 'Minded To' note dated 3 August 2017 concerning restriction order applications, 5 October 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
- Sir John Mitting, Supplementary 'Minded-To', Undercover Policing Inquiry, 23 October 2017 (accessed 23 October 2017 via UCPI.org.uk).
- Ruth Brander & Philippa Kaufmann QC, Submissions on behalf of the non-police, non-state core participants re the Chairman's 'Minded To' note dated 23 October 2017 concerning restriction order applications, 6 November 2017 (accessed via UCPI.org.uk).
- Transcript of hearing of 21 November 2017, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 21 November 2017.
- Press Notice: Decisions relating to anonymity applications: Special Demonstration Squad - HN15, HN58 and HN104 "Carlo Neri", Undercover Policing Inquiry", 20 December 2017.
- Sir John Mitting, On the application of HN104 for a restriction order in respect of his real name, Undercover Policing Inquiry", 20 December 2017.
- Police Spies Out of Lives, STATEMENT ON CARLO SORACCHI (NERI) HN104, 4 April 2019 (accessed April 2019)
- Unite, Unite calls for ‘no stone’ to be left unturned as Spycop true identity revealed, Unite online news, 4 April 2019 (accessed April 2019
- David Barr & Kate Wilkinson, Counsel to the Inquiry's explanatory note to accompany the 'Minded to' note in respect of applications for restrictions over the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstration Squad, Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (UCPI.org.uk), 3 August 2017 (accessed 5 August 2017).
- Sir John Mitting, In the matter of section 19(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 Applications for restriction orders in respect of the real and cover names of officers of the Special Operations Squad and the Special Demonstrations Squad - Ruling 12, Undercover Policing Inquiry, 7 Aug 2018.