18 Jul 2011

TV presenter felt ‘hunted’ by private investigators

Exclusive: Former Metropolitan police detective and Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames tells Channel 4 News she felt “hunted” by private investigators alleged to be working for the News of the World.

Jacqui Hames became embroiled in the News International scandal in 2002.

Speaking publicly for the first time, the former Met detective told Channel 4 News she “is convinced” her confidential police personnel file was sold to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who worked for the News of the World (NoW).

She also claims to have been placed under surveillance by private investigators who took photos of her while she was inside her home.

In 2002 a BBC Crimewatch report investigating the murder of Daniel Morgan featured Jacqui Hames’s husband Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook who was leading the inquiry.

Private investigator Morgan had been found dead with an axe in his head.

Shortly after the Crimewatch appeal, police colleagues informed Dave Cook he was being targeted by journalists at NoW.

As Channel 4 News revealed two weeks ago, the tabloid’s editor at the time, Rebekah Brooks, was aware of the allegations.

News of the World employees apparently said they were interested in whether Dave Cook was having an affair with Jacqui Hames. They were in fact married at the time.

‘A chilling moment’

Jacqui Hames was contacted by Met police officers earlier this year who were investigating the News International controversy.

She was shown notes from Glenn Mulcaire’s files which detailed her personal mobile number, addresses dating back to 1978, her warrant number and telephone numbers of units where she had previously worked.

She is convinced another police officer sold on the information: “To see that done against me, an innocent bystander in many respects, was quite shocking and because of what was in there the information could only have come from my colleagues who I’d worked with for 25 years.

“That is an incredibly powerful blow because it feels like such an intrusion and an assault by people who you felt were almost like your family.”

Jacqui noticed they were under surveillance from private investigators – one day she saw a van parked outside her home with a camera pointed towards the window.

Jacqui told Channel 4 News it was “a chilling” moment: “If you think about the more sinister side to this, it was connected to a murder inquiry, one of the most notorious murder inquiries the Met had ever investigated.”

Jacqui describes the case as a “constant shadow” hanging over her life and says she “felt hunted”.

“I know what it feels like to have your sense of personal safety and security damaged and it’s not a nice feeling. I don’t feel anyone should have to go through that.”

Jacqui retired from the Metropolitan Police early and is now suing News International.