British Trident whistleblower to hand himself in

A Royal Navy whistleblower who revealed alleged security failings in Britain's Trident nuclear submarine programme has announced that he will hand himself in to the police today after going on the run.

Able Seaman William McNeilly published an 18-page report this weekend titled The Secret Nuclear Threat. The dossier detailed what McNeilly referred to as "complete lack of concern for security" regarding the Trident nuclear weapons programme, suggesting that it would be easily open to a terrorist attack.

The report was published online by Wikileaks, alongside a photo of McNeilly's Navy ID card. The submariner subsequently went on the run and was being sought by police. However, he today posted a message on Facebook saying that he intends to hand himself in within hours. "There's nothing I can do from prison," he writes. "Whatever happens now is up to you and the government."

The weapons engineer is almost certain to face a court martial and likely to be charged under the Official Secrets Act 1989 which sets out that someone is guilty if they make a damaging disclosure of any information, document or other article relating to defence without lawful authority.

Similarly under Section 17 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, McNeilly could be charged for disclosing information useful to an enemy if it can be proved that he knew, or reasonably should have known, that the information he has released would be useful to an enemy of the UK. Breaches of each act carry a maximum prison term of two years though McNeilly will only be charged under one and not the other, depending on what the prosecution decides. He could also be charged with being absent without leave, which carries a sentence of two years.

However, he will likely avoid being charged with either treason or assisting an enemy - more serious charges which carry a maximum term of life imprisonment - as the prosecution would have to be able to prove that he released the information to deliberately assist an enemy or 'wage war' against the UK.

McNeilly's dossier detailed 30 separate alleged breaches of health and safety including missile safety alarms being muted and ignored, the accidental flooding of torpedo compartment and one occassion when the HMS Vanguard battleship reportedly collided with a French submarine, an incident which he claims was hushed up.

McNeilly wrote that due to a shortage in personnel it is "only a matter of time before we're infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist; with this amount of people getting pushed through", and that he wanted "to break down the false images of a perfect system that most people envisage exists".

In today's Facebook post he explains that "This hasn't been an easy path to walk down" and that there "are brave and intelligent people working for the Trident Programme".

"They just need to realize that they are serving a broken system and not the people. If you continue to defend it sooner or later more truth will come out or a catastrophe will happen," he concludes.

The Ministry of Defence have released a statement emphasising that the Royal Navy "takes security and nuclear safety extremely seriously" and saying that they are investigating the release of the document. "The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime," it reads, "And submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so."