Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Hacker 'confesses' to stay in UK

Gary McKinnon, PA
Gary McKinnon claims he was looking for UFO files

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon has signed a confession which reflects his "culpability" to avoid extradition to the US, his lawyer has said.

Mr McKinnon who was born in Glasgow but lives in London, faces up to 70 years in prison if found guilty in the US of breaking into military computers.

The 42-year-old has signed a statement offering to plead guilty to a different charge under UK law.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was considering the statement.

His lawyer Karen Todner said he still denies causing damage, which the US authorities put at $800,000 dollars (532,500), but signed a statement offering to plead guilty to a different charge under the Misuse of Computers Act in a bid to remain in the UK.

Ms Todner said she was awaiting a response from the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC, but added she was hopeful prosecutors would accept the deal.

"They are different offences to what he was being extradited for, but it reflects his culpability for what he did," she said.

Legal battle

Mr McKinnon, who has Asperger's Syndrome, trespassed on networks owned by Nasa, the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense in 2001 and 2002.

The US military said that Mr McKinnon left 300 computers at a US Navy weapons station unusable immediately after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Mr McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, claims he was looking for UFO files. He was easily traced by the authorities because he had used his own e-mail address.

Despite taking his appeal to the House of Lords last year, he lost a six-year legal battle to avoid extradition.

The European Court of Human Rights also declined to back Mr McKinnon's case against extradition.

An application for permission for a judicial review of the proposed extradition is expected to be heard at the High Court, London, on 20 January.

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