UFO hacker Gary McKinnon was helped by MP Grant Shapps ‘behind the scenes’

13:07 22 October 2012

Grant Shapps and Janis Sharp

Grant Shapps and Janis Sharp

Archant

THE mother of a UFO hacker who dodged extradition to the USA has thanked a Times Territory MP for helping sway politicians “behind the scenes”.

Janis Sharp had been fighting for ten years to prevent Gary McKinnon being tried in America and said Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps had helped influence the government’s decision to keep the 46-year-old in Britain.

The Brookmans Park resident said: “He did not do it publicly but he did a lot behind the scenes.

“He was speaking to David Cameron which is pretty helpful and when I was at Number 10, he helped when I was meeting the guy who deals with extradition – Damian Green.

“He did a lot and he didn’t do it for publicity.”

Home Secretary Theresa May last week ruled that Mr McKinnon should not be sent across the Atlantic as he suffers from Aspergers syndrome and it would be “incompatible with his human rights”.

The hacker broke into top secret US government computers to search for evidence of aliens and faced up to 60 years in American prison after being arrested in March 2002.

It is alleged Mr McKinnon deleted weapons logs and copied sensitive information with the US claiming it cost over $700,000 to repair the damage.

He claims he did not cause any damage but may have to stand trial in the UK to prove his innocence.

Mrs Sharp said: “It’s a huge relief to have that weight off our minds [of the extradition]. If there is a trial here that’s fine, Gary can prove that he didn’t do the damage. “Gary has his family here surrounding him rather than being in a country where he doesn’t know anyone - and would be confined in a horrific prison system.

“Here he will be on bail, have his family support and go through the process – that is what we have been fighting for.”

Mr Shapps said: “It is a good decision by the Home Secretary, I have spoken with Gary’s mum Janis for many years - she’s over the moon and as her constituency MP I’m absolutely delighted.”

At the time of going to press the Crown Prosecution Service had not decided whether Mr McKinnon would stand trial.

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