Jacqui Hames’ triple betrayal by the police and the press offers a glimpse of just how murky, messy and malign the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and News International became.
Hames was, for over 30 years, a police officer in the Metropolitan Police (“the Met”). Her ex-husband David Cook was a detective chief superintendant in the Met.
In 2002 Cook was asked to join the investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan. Morgan had been brutally murdered with an axe 15 years previously in a pub car park in Sydenham, South London. One of the suspects in that murder was Jonathan Rees.
Rees ran an organization called Southern Investigations. In 1987, when Morgan was murdered, Rees was his business partner. Southern Investigations worked closely with a number of Metropolitan Police officers. Southern Investigations also did lots of investigations for national newspapers. One of Rees’ biggest clients was the News of the World.
Betrayal #1 – sold out by the Met
After Cook made an appeal on CrimeWatch on June 26, 2002, for information about Morgan’s murder, the Met learnt that Southern Investigations intended to ‘make life difficult’ for Cook.
On 3rd July 2002, shortly after Cook joined the investigation, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire – at that time working for News of the World – managed to get hold of a whole raft of personal details about Jacqui Hames.
These included her payroll number, warrant number, the name of the police section house she had briefly lived in when she joined in 1977, names, home and work telephone numbers, mobile phone numbers, and other information. It is virtually impossible, Hames told the Leveson inquiry, to see how this information could have come from anywhere except from the Metropolitan Police themselves. Much of it was information that was on her private MPS file and was not even known by friends or family members.
A week later, the News of the World put Cook and Hames under surveillance. White vans were parked outside her house, and she and her husband were trailed. This included trailing David Cook while he walked his son and daughter to school. Not surprisingly, given Hames and Cook were part of a nasty murder investigation, this was frightening for their family.
What was the motivation for illegally getting Hames’ personal details or for putting her and her husband under surveillance? Well, clearly not what Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) said at the time. The News of the World was, she said, investigating rumours of an affair between Hames and Cook. Since they were actually married, and Brooks knew they were married from the personal details the News of the World had, this cannot have been true.
No, the real motivation appears to be far more sinister. Hames believes that ‘suspects in the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry were using their association with a powerful and well-resourced newspaper [the News of the World] to try to intimidate us and so attempt to subvert the investigation’.
Betrayal #2 – sold out to News International
Hames and Cook tried to find out the real reason why News of the World had put them under surveillance in 2003 (at this point they did not know their personal details and phones had also been hacked).
Cook met Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) with the head of MPS public affairs Dick Fedorcio in 2003. Wade peddled the same line about the affair. Though unconvincing even at the time the MPS seemed to show no inclination to pursue it.
As Hames says in her evidence: ‘Whatever went on, the perception was that the Directorate of Public Affairs was more interested in serving the journalists and those at the top of the MPS than it was in the majority of police staff.”
Hames suffered personally as a consequence, her marriage broke down and she needed counselling.
Betrayal #3 – left her information with News International without telling her
It was only in 2011 Hames learnt that not only did the MPS not protect her from the News of the World and Rees at the time, but that they failed to tell her later and that subsequent investigations she worked on were almost certainly compromised by the 2002 hacking.
In 2006, when the MPS discovered that Hames’ phone had been hacked and personal details illegally obtained, Hames was working on a sensitive inquiry which involved ‘security and some sensitive witnesses under protection’. That security, and presumably even the witnesses under protection, could have been compromised by the News of the World (and, by association, Mulcaire and Southern Investigations).
Had the MPS informed Hames, even in 2006, she could have changed her mobile phone number and other personal details that were still known to the News of the World. She was not told by her colleagues in the MPS.
This case involves corruption, murder, bribery, hacking and intimidation. Hames was doing a tough job on behalf of the public. She was betrayed not once, not twice, but three times by her colleagues in the police and by the press. She was followed, intimidated, intruded upon and colluded against. Her personal life was turned over, her police work compromised. A murder case was so contaminated it had to be abandoned. Much of this funded and fuelled by News International.
This post originally appeared on the Hacked Off blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks