Andrew Wakefield was struck off after his anti-MMR 'science' - but now he has ...

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Floating off the coast of Mexico, the 'Conspira-Sea' cruisers had gathered for a week-long voyage of discovery into their eccentric universe of wacky conspiracy theories.

Speakers at the event, which took place on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, included a 'global alchemist' who claimed she'd visited secret colonies on Mars, a man who insisted he'd died and been reborn three times and another who believed that an extraterrestrial species, the 'Nephalem', is running the world and that fleets of UFOs can be seen through special goggles.

Oh, yes: and there was also a disgraced British gastroenterologist who believes that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

Andrew Wakefield (pictured with his girlfriend Elle Macpherson in Miami) was a British gastroenterologist who believed that the MMR vaccine causes autism. He moved to the US with his family when he lost his license in the UK

Andrew Wakefield (pictured with his girlfriend Elle Macpherson in Miami) was a British gastroenterologist who believed that the MMR vaccine causes autism. He moved to the US with his family when he lost his license in the UK

One of Andrew Wakefield's lectures on the cruise was grandly titled 'Whistleblowing in the Public Interest'. 

As a projector flashed up disturbing images of children born without arms and others screaming in pain, he told his audience: 'Your bodies are owned by Big Pharma. It's turning into a science-fiction movie.'

This, he added ominously, 'will be the end of the United States of America'.

According to an eyewitness, during a Q&A session, Wakefield described the public vaccination policy as a 'eugenics programme, a deliberate population-control programme'. 

Not for nothing do many vaccination experts regard the 61-year-old — who, having been struck off, can no longer call himself a doctor — as the biggest single force behind the alarming fall in vaccination rates.

An eyewitness on the bizarre Conspira-Sea trip said Wakefield looked unhappy to be sharing a platform with crop-circle obsessives, crystal-ball gazers and assorted occupants of interplanetary craft.

Still, the Berkshire-born ex-researcher could at least console himself with the thought that his audience had each paid £2,500 for the week, not including drinks and flights. (His own fee remains undisclosed.)

Wakefield can often be found swanning around a gated community in Miami's millionaire enclave of Coral Gables. He and his ex-wife, Carmel, own a string of homes between them in the fashionable Texas city of Austin

Wakefield can often be found swanning around a gated community in Miami's millionaire enclave of Coral Gables. He and his ex-wife, Carmel, own a string of homes between them in the fashionable Texas city of Austin

The man who fled Britain to the U.S. after becoming one of the most reviled doctors of his generation when he fraudulently connected the MMR vaccine to autism is, under the circumstances, not doing too badly nowadays.

He and his ex-wife, Carmel, own a string of homes between them in the fashionable Texas city of Austin, while Wakefield can often be found swanning around a gated community in Miami's millionaire enclave of Coral Gables.

On his arm is girlfriend Elle 'The Body' Macpherson. 

The 55-year-old former supermodel and 'wellness' expert recently made a reported £45 million from her divorce settlement from her second husband, billionaire property tycoon Jeffrey Soffer.

She spent more than £6.7 million of it on the seven-bedroom mansion, complete with salt-water swimming pool and private boat dock, which has become Wakefield's second home.

Having 'The Body' for a girlfriend might go to any 62-year-old's head, but Wakefield has other reasons to feel special.

Most doctors who had suffered the mauling he received from the medical and science establishment would have gone into hiding.

Instead, he is holding his head high (at least in some quarters) as the figurehead and intellectual leader of a resurgent anti-vaccine movement which has been blamed for falling vaccination levels not just in Britain and America but around the world.

The 'Conspira-Sea' cruisers had gathered for a week-long voyage off the coast of Mexico to share the eccentric universe of wacky conspiracy theories

The 'Conspira-Sea' cruisers had gathered for a week-long voyage off the coast of Mexico to share the eccentric universe of wacky conspiracy theories

In 1998, Wakefield and 12 co-authors sensationally published research in The Lancet, a bible to the medical profession, which proposed a link between the triple jab against measles, mumps and rubella and both autism and bowel disease in a study of just 12 children.

At a press conference, Wakefield, then a specialist at London's Royal Free Hospital, called for a return to three single jabs.

It later emerged that he had financial and ethical conflicts of interest. 

The General Medical Council eventually found that he had used children who showed signs of autism as effective guinea pigs, subjecting them to invasive, unpleasant and unnecessary procedures including colonoscopies and lumbar punctures.

At one birthday party, he even paid children £5 each for taking blood from them.

Disgracefully, he took money to prepare evidence for solicitors who wanted to bring cases against vaccine manufacturers.

He also lodged a patent for his own measles vaccine, which he claimed could treat bowel disease.

Wakefield took his first stab at film directing a documentary titled Vaxxed which alleged a government cover-up over vaccine dangers and papered over the cracks of its pseudo-science

Wakefield took his first stab at film directing a documentary titled Vaxxed which alleged a government cover-up over vaccine dangers and papered over the cracks of its pseudo-science

In 2010, as it struck him from the medical register, the GMC said Wakefield had acted 'dishonestly and irresponsibly' and found him guilty of 'unethical behaviour, misconduct and fraud'.

Some 21 studies since his Lancet research found no link between vaccines and autism. 

Experts believe many parents blame vaccines because the first symptoms of autism often appear when children are about a year old — the age they receive their first MMR jab.

Wakefield, who has always denied wrongdoing, continues to insist he was motivated only by children's suffering. 

Yet, remarkably, his discredited views influence parents around the world, helping to push the 'anti-vaxxer' movement that has seen immunisation rates fall in several countries.

By 2010 he had decamped to the U.S. It's hardly surprising Wakefield should have left his birth country, where the facts of his disgrace are seared into public memory.

What's shocking to critics is how strongly Wakefield has rebounded, finding a new, frightening influence and — as that cruise made clear — becoming more entrenched in his views.

Experts say if any single person should shoulder the blame for falling vaccination rates and Britain's loss of measles-free status, it is him.

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