When the press conference came, it was a bit of a non-event.
With news cameras and journalists poised both inside and outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, they ended up having little to report. The man who had spent two years cooped up in a diplomatic building would not be coming out. He only said he would like to leave at some point; possibly quite soon.
It is testament to the achievements of Julian Assange that this banal announcement attracted so much interest from the world’s media. But the overwhelming story when it comes to the founder of Wikileaks is a depressing one.
Nick Davies, the journalist who persuaded Assange to publish the Wikileaks revelations in the Guardian, now describes him as a “fatally flawed character”.
“I’m not in contact with Assange,” he tells me. “I broke off contact with him back in the summer of 2010 in order to protest to him about the way he was behaving and also because I had to get back to the hacking story.”
“I think that he is brilliant and brave and dedicated, but fatally flawed as a character.
“At the time he was messing us about, I was angry with him. Now I just think it’s a tragic story of someone who is so brilliant, and yet he has made such a mess of his own creation and has ended up stuck in this embassy in the middle of London for more than two years. That didn’t have to happen. He could have been so powerful. And, for a moment, he was.”