In the 1980s, Bob Lambert, a former officer with London's Metropolitan Police Service, went undercover with a group of environmental activists. Working under the alias Bob Robinson, he attended demonstrations, co-wrote a leaflet that started the longest trial in England's history, and fathered a son.
In an interview with Vice News, "Jacqui," the pseudonymous woman with whom Lambert had a relationship lasting several years, explains what it was like to learn that the man she loved had been a spy. Jacqui, an environmental activist herself, describes Lambert as "my first love, my first pregnancy, my first giving birth." She learned she had been duped when she saw Lambert's photo in the Daily Mail in 2012, two and a half decades after he told her he had to go on the run in 1987 and never returned:
"He always said he'd be in touch as soon as he could; he'd never abandon his own son. And that's exactly what he did," Jacqui said.
Jacqui said she tried to trace Lambert, but her searches turned up nothing. She eventually gave up hope of him coming back. She married again and had another child, but when she was 31, her 36-year-old husband died suddenly.
The interview's most devastating moment comes when Jacqui tells of her realization that what she thought of as moments with her family were simply work time for Lambert. Astonishingly, he was married to and had two children with another woman throughout their relationship:
"What I realize now is that his time with me was his work. When I thought he was at work that was not work. When he was at work was our everyday life," she said. "So he went to family functions with me. My parents treated him as a son-in-law. My sister treated him as a brother-in-law. He was in family photos, stuff like that, and he's a ghost. It turns out he's nothing."
Now, Vice reports, Jacqui is deciding whether to sell the rights to her life story to a movie studio. Lambert works as a university lecturer and says he "genuinely regret[s]" his actions.
[Photo via London Greenpeace]