Gary McKinnon has lost a High Court bid to avoid extradition to the United States on charges of hacking into computers belonging to the US Navy and NASA.

McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, could face up to 70 years in prison if convicted in the US of what prosecutors have called ‘the biggest military computer hack of all time'.

He was seeking the High Court to overturn a refusal by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to put him on trial in the UK. His legal team have said that he would admit to offences under the UK's Computer Misuse Act if he was tried in the UK.

He has admitted to breaking into sensitive US military networks, but only to hunt for confidential information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and UFO technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding from the public.

The US authorities however, alleged that McKinnon stole 950 passwords and deleted files at a naval base in New Jersey, responsible for replenishing munitions and supplies for the Atlantic fleet.

According to BBC News, his mother, Janis Sharp, said he had been ‘naive enough to admit to computer misuse without having a lawyer and without one being present. We are heartbroken. If the law says it's fair to destroy someone's life in this way then it's a bad law.'

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: "People are right to be extremely concerned about our extradition arrangements. This is a case where there is a clear argument for it to be tried in this country, and our system should take health issues into account before considering deportation. I hope lessons will be learned.”

A poll by Sophos of 550 IT professionals revealed that seven out of ten respondents believe that NASA hacker Gary McKinnon should not be extradited to the US.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “The consensus is that it is perhaps inappropriate to make an example of a UFO conspiracy theorist when serious crimes are still being carried out by financially-motivated hackers, stealing identities, sending spam and creating botnets.

“Of course a strong message must be sent out to hackers that their activities are unacceptable, but there is arguably a difference between McKinnon and cybercriminals who are in it for the money. The question is, how many more appeals do McKinnon and his numerous supporters have left before his unwilling departure from Heathrow airport?”