Nicholas Davies (journalist)

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Nicholas Davies
Borncirca 1939[1]
DiedJanuary 2016 (aged 76)
OccupationJournalist, writer
GenreJournalism, biography
Notable worksDiana : a princess and her troubled marriage (1992)
Death of a Tycoon (1993)
Dead Men Talking (2003)
SpouseUnknown first wife (divorced)
(m. 1982; div. 1991)
Andrea Martin
(m. 1992)

Nicholas Davies (c. 1939 – January 2016), also known as Nick Davies, was[2] a journalist and author, formerly foreign editor of the Daily Mirror. He was closely associated with Robert Maxwell, and was the centre of considerable UK media attention in 1991 after he was accused in Seymour Hersh's book The Samson Option of involvement in Israeli arms deals and of passing the location of Mordechai Vanunu to the Mossad. In response, Maxwell and Davies sued for libel, although Davies did not pursue the case and Mirror Group apologised and settled on behalf of Maxwell after his death.[3]

Journalistic career[edit]

Davies began his career with the Birmingham Post and Mail, and joined Mirror Group Newspapers in 1961 as a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter. He served as foreign editor of the Daily Mirror for 14 years[4] until he was sacked by Maxwell in 1991[5] at the age of 52.[6] Davies later went on to publish stories of working with Maxwell,[7] as well as books about the British Royal Family and Northern Ireland.

Davies was first in the mass media to identify the victim of the 2007 royal blackmail plot, despite a court order preventing naming in the UK.[8] He wrote a book on Maxwell entitled Death of a Tycoon: An Insider's Account of the Rise and Fall of Robert Maxwell. In it he speculated that Maxwell had been killed and suggested some unlikely culprits. He also detailed his own affair with Maxwell's secretary in his book The Unknown Maxwell.

He was referred to as "Kite" by satirical magazine Private Eye because his stories were supposed to be "fliers". He has been confused with another British journalist of the same name when they were working in the same building.[9]

Arms sales[edit]

Davies was named by Ari Ben-Menashe as his business partner in Profits of War, in relation to Iran–Contra and the sale of PROMIS, the first computer spyware. The arrangement was also noted in the book Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul by Gordon Thomas. Ben-Menashe later posted seven documents relating to sales of arms by Davies, sometimes signing himself as Davis.[10] Ben-Menashe also stated Davies was a "major player" in the arms sales to Iran and made more than $1.5 million on one deal.[11] Davies and Ben-Menashe were specifically business partners in the international arms firm Ora Limited, which operated out of Davies' home in London starting in 1983. Ora Limited was setup according to Ben-Menashe with approval of the Israeli government and was meant to facilitate the Israeli flow of arms to Iran during the Iran–Iraq War.[12] Davies' former wife, Janet Fielding, confirmed that Davies was selling arms in partnership with Ben-Menashe. In an interview with Seymour Hersh, she stated "Nick would try to tell me stuff [about the arms sales] and I said I didn't want to know. I left him because of it." She also stated that she was aware that his arms sales partner Ben-Menashe was an Israeli intelligence operative.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In a 1992 article for The Washington Post, Christopher Hitchens describes Davies as a "polo-playing friend of Prince Charles".[14] Davies also had a friendship with Diana, Princess of Wales.[citation needed]

From 1982 to 1991, he was married to the Australian actress Janet Fielding, best known for playing the Fourth and Fifth Doctor's companion Tegan Jovanka in Doctor Who.[15] Davies lived in Brighton in 1993.

There are some details of his personal life in his books The Unknown Maxwell[16] and Death of a Tycoon: An Insider's Account of the Rise and Fall of Robert Maxwell.[17]


  • The unknown Maxwell : his astonishing secret lives revealed by his aide and close companion (1992), Sidgwick & Jackson.
  • Death of a Tycoon (1992), ISBN 978-0-312-09249-8
  • Diana : a princess and her troubled marriage (1992), Birch Lane Press, ISBN 1-55972-156-1
  • Queen Elizabeth II (1994)
  • Roll of the dice (1996), Darius Guppy with Nicholas Davies
  • Fifty Dead Men Walking (1997)
  • Ten-Thirty-Three (1999)
  • Dead Men Talking (2003)
  • Diana : the Killing of a Princess (2006)


  1. ^ "Editor was 'justified' in sacking journalist". Retrieved 18 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Schreckinger, Ben; Lippman, Daniel (21 July 2019). "Meet the woman who ties Jeffrey Epstein to Trump and the Clintons". POLITICO. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  3. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (19 August 1994). "U.S. Author Gets Apology in Libel Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
  4. ^ Davies, Nick (1993). Death of a tycoon. St Martins Press. pp. 346. ISBN 978-0-312-09249-8.
  5. ^ David Sharrock and Georgina Henry (6 November 1991). "Maxwell's body found in sea". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  6. ^ William Tuohy (25 October 1991). "'Mirrorgate': A Press Empire Strikes Back – Scandal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  7. ^ Sandra Barwick (25 October 1994). "The beast and his beauties". The Independent. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  8. ^ Julia May (1 November 2007). "Queen's nephew 'victim' of blackmail". The Age. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  9. ^ Nick Davies (October 1991). "Somebody is making a mess of my name". The Guardian.
  10. ^ Ari Ben-Menashe. "Profits of War: Inside the secret US—Israeli arms network (appendices)". Archived from the original on 17 January 2015.
  11. ^ Ronald Bleier (1993). "The Money Machine:A Review of Ari Ben-Menashe's Profits of War".
  12. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. The Samson Option : Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (1st ed.). New York. p. 309. ISBN 0-394-57006-5. OCLC 24609770.
  13. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. The Samson Option : Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (1st ed.). New York. p. 311. ISBN 0-394-57006-5. OCLC 24609770.
  14. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (1993). For the sake of argument. Verso. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-86091-435-8.
  15. ^ Thomas, Gordon; Martin Dillon (2003). The assassination of Robert Maxwell: Israel's superspy. London: Robson Books. pp. 127–129. ISBN 1-86105-642-7.
  16. ^ Davies, Nicholas (January 1992). The unknown Maxwell: His astonishing secret lives revealed by his aide and close companion. ISBN 9780283061608.
  17. ^ Davies, Nicholas (1993). Death of a Tycoon: An Insider's Account of the Fall of Robert Maxwell. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312092498. Death of a Tycoon: An Insider's Account of the Rise and Fall of Robert Maxwell.