Dead journalist sex smear 'foul'

Malcolm Coad and David Pallister, Guardian 2 June 1990, page 3

Malcolm Coad in Santiago and David Pallister

British officials in Chile are claiming that the dead defence journalist Jonathan Moyle was a sexual deviant who hanged himself while attempting to obtain pleasure. It is understood that members of MI5 have made the same assertion in London.

Last night Mr Moyle's father, Anthony Moyle, rejected the claim: "Nothing could be further from the truth. My son, my wife and myself were very close. This is just foul. What on earth possessed somebody to say this?"

No evidence has been provided to support the claims, which will smear Jonathan Moyle's reputation as investigators in Chile are casting doubt on the police assertion, immediately after his death, that he committed suicide.

Mr Moyle, aged 28 of Devon, was found hanged in the wardrobe of his room in the Carrera Hotel in Santiago on March 31.

He worked for the magazine Defense Helicopter World and was in Chile for the biennial Air and Space Fair put on by the Chilean Air Force.

He was interested in a Bell helicopter that the Chilean company Industrias Cardoen is converting to multi-purpose use, especially for Third World conditions and economies. He was then due to travel to Bolivia to write about military efforts there to combat drugs.

His interest in the helicopter - and suggestions that Iraq was trying to acquire it - plus the investigation into drugs have given rise to suggestions that he was the victim of skulduggery by international arms dealers or drug traffickers.

His family and friends in Britain were incredulous at the suicide explanation for his death. They pointed out that he had no history of depression and was about to get married.

According to colleagues, immediately before his death Mr Moyle was in excellent spirits, full of work projects and happy about his forthcoming marriage. It is understood that letters were found on him in which he wrote fondly of his honeymoon plans, trees he was planting in his garden, and a forthcoming visit to his prospective in-laws in Germany.

Mr Moyle believes his son's death was connected with his interest in the Cardoen helicopter.

"Before he died, he talked to Mr [Carlos] Cardoen himself," he said. "The judge [investigating the death] has detailed drawings of weapons which the Cardoen people were going to fit on to the helicopter and export to Iraq. My son would probably have printed that this would have made it potentially an attack helicopter."

However, the helicopter conversion has been well known for some time, and Mr Cardoen's dealings with the Iraqi regime are also well known. He said recently that Iraq would certainly be a potential customer.