ONCE the teenage Scot who got involved in a plot to assassinate Spanish dictator General Franco, Britain’s most famous anarchist, Stuart Christie – who never afterwards wavered in beliefs that saw him persecuted, jailed and vilified by the British state – has died aged 74.

Most infamously he was charged with being a member of the Angry Brigade, the far-left militant group that carried out a bombing campaign in Britain between 1970 and 1972. As one of the Stoke Newington Eight charged with bombings, he became a defendant in one of the longest criminal trials in English legal history. However, Christie was acquitted after it transpired police had planted evidence on him.

He was also a writer and publisher of anarchist works which would probably not have seen the light of day without his courage and devotion to the cause.

His death on Saturday came a year after the death from cancer of his partner of 50 years, Brenda.

According to his colleague and friend John Patten, Christie died from lung cancer on Saturday: “He slipped away peacefully, listening to ‘Pennies From Heaven’ (Brenda’s favourite song) in the company of his daughter Branwen.”

Born in Partick in Glasgow and raised by his mother and grandmother in Blantyre, Christie always said he learned his politics from his granny. Indeed his three volumes of memoirs were entitled My Granny Made Me An Anarchist, General Franco Made Me A ‘Terrorist’ and Edward Heath Made Me Angry. These were condensed into a single volume: Granny Made Me An Anarchist: General Franco, The Angry Brigade And Me, published in 2004.

There was no rush to furnish tributes to Christie from the great and the good yesterday – he would probably have sneered at them – but he will be remembered in many parts of the UK and beyond for his commitment to his beliefs. That included early involvement with CND and the attempt to assassinate Franco.

In 1964, when Franco was clamping down on the left, Christie carried the explosives to Spain for the failed bid, which saw him sentenced to 20 years in jail, though he was freed after just three.

He returned to Britain as a marked man and was arrested for alleged involvement with the Angry Brigade.

After spending 18 months on remand, he walked free after the Stoke Newington Eight trial and moved into publishing left-wing tracts, at one time running Britain’s most famous anarchist press from Sanday in the Orkneys. He ran Simian, the Cienfuegos Press, Meltzer and Refract.

Later in life Christie disavowed violence. In an interview with 3AM in 2004 he said: “New forms of anti-capitalist protest have emerged, and these are constantly being developed and adapting to the changing situation.

“The new kids on the block are finding more imaginative and exemplary ways to make the bad guys uncomfortable than blowing them, or their houses, up.”