As Alastair Morgan and myself describe in detail in both Untold: the Daniel Morgan Murder podcast and the book, the surveillance and hacking of former police officer Jacqui Hames and her husband, Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook, is one of the most chilling episodes in the 30 year saga of press cover-up and police collusion around the Daniel Morgan murder.
Here is Jacqui Hames statement outside the Rolls Building this morning
One of the best ways of understanding the significance of this is the episode from the podcast about how the fourth murder investigation was compromised by News of the World.
The Dave Cook/Jacqui Hames story starts around 18 minutes in. The targeting of Jacqui Hames appears in more detail around 28 minutes in.
The True Extent of the Intimidation
Cook was tasked with one of the most sensitive and top secret murder investigations in the UK – the fourth investigation into Daniel Morgan’s murder after multiple allegations of police corruption and underworld organised crime connections.
As we revealed on Byline, former news editor Greg Miskiw was tasked to investigate Cook and his family, and he knew it was because the murder suspects were Marunchak’s team
At first Cook was only to be the front-man on Crimewatch but even before he appeared on TV
* One of the suspects, former Detective Sergeant Sidney Fillery (who had taken over Daniel Morgan’s role at Southern Investigations) was in contact with News of the World executive Alex Maruchak and talking about “sorting out” Dave Cook.
* As we revealed on Byline, former news editor Greg Miskiw was tasked to investigate Cook and his family, and he knew it was because the murder suspects were Marunchak’s team
* While Glenn Mulcaire was asked to hack phones and find out financial details and access confidential police files, a surveillance team, which included Mahzer Mahmood’s photographer Bradley Page, hired a van and two vehicles and started targeting the family, with traumatic results for Jacqui Hames, still reeling from the assassination of her friend Jill Dando.
* Beyond the hacking and the surveillance, and despite a dedicated witness protection team, Cook and Hames and their young children were subject to email threats, intercepted mail and other harassment.
The Role of NewsUK Supremo Rebekah Brooks
Rebekah Brooks was editor of News of the World during the period Marunchak, Mahmood and Mulcaire targeted Cook and his family.
Three senior officers of the company were present when Alex Marunchak’s attempt to subvert a major murder investigation was discussed. But there is no indication that Marunchak was warned, punished or sacked. He would remain a senior executive editor of the newspaper for another four years.
She’d been close to Mahmood during the 90s as features editor and deputy, calling him four times a day when he worked with Southern Investigations on his stings.
On Thursday 9th of January 2003, DSU Dave Cook confronted Brooks with evidence about the close relationship over 15 years between her senior executive Alex Marunchak and the murder suspects at Southern Investigations, and the fact he’d been targeted by News of the World
While defending Marunchak as a ‘great editor’ Brooks promised to investigate.
“The next day, Friday, 10th January 2003, Brooks consulted her managing editor. Stuart Kuttner had been paying – and questioning – Southern Investi-gations’ invoices for years, and he took notes of the meeting, which were later seized by police in the phone-hacking investigation in 2006.
Contemporaries suggest a third person attended that meeting: one other unidentified person. Either way, three senior officers of the company were present when Alex Marunchak’s attempt to subvert a major murder investigation was discussed. But there is no indication that Marunchak was warned, punished or sacked. He would remain a senior executive editor of the newspaper for another four years.
Instead, it was Rebekah Brooks who was suddenly moved. That weekend she was told to clear her desk at the News of the World and on Monday, 12th January 2003, assume the editorship of The Sun newspaper. Andy Coulson replaced her as editor of the Sunday tabloid.
This move to Britain’s best-selling daily was a promotion, certainly, for Brooks. She was the close friend of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, had met and impressed Murdoch himself, and was being groomed for high office. But why was Brooks suddenly moved out of the News of the World immediately after being confronted over the activities of Southern Investigations and their long association with her newspaper? Was the sewer of corruption that underpinned its news gathering in danger of overflowing and tainting her too?”
From: Untold; The Daniel Morgan Murder by Alastair Morgan and Peter Jukes (Blink, 2017) p 270.
The Cook Family Targeted Again in 2006
Marunchak and News of the World continued to target Cook during the fifth murder investigation in 2006, on this occasion receiving a tip-off from the Met Commissioner’s ‘inner sanctum’ before the family knew a new inquiry was launched, and deploying e-mail hacking to expose a key informant who had spent nine years undercover obtaining intelligence about Southern Investigations.
“Derek Haslam’s investigation into the connection between Daniel’s murder and the suspicious suicide of his old friend Alan Holmes was over. But email hacking may well have been much more widespread and damaging to the fifth murder inquiry.
Alastair Morgan had noted that his computer was running slowly and informed DCS Dave Cook, who took immediate steps to have the device reformatted. Since they were sharing information with the Morgan family at this point, it was a dangerous breach of security.
Then Dave Cook checked his own computer and found two key logger viruses on the hard drive, which would have compromised his emails. DCI Noel Beswick subsequently found another key logger on his computer in 2010. This was during extensive legal arguments in court, in which the defence always seemed to have the upper hand.
That summer further intelligence indicated that Alex Marunchak and his ex-Met pal, John Ross, were trying to hawk a story of Jacqui Hames’ busi-ness interests around Fleet Street, in order to compromise her husband, Dave Cook, in charge of the fifth murder inquiry.
One afternoon the couple’s children came home from school only to spot a man in a balaclava in the garden of their Surrey home. Once again, Cook and Hames had to step up their security protocols, and the new threat opened old wounds.”
NGN admitted liability for Marunchak’s email hacking campaign earlier this year.
It has taken 15 and 10 years respectively to gain these two court admissions from NGN/News UK to prove that one of Murdoch’s top executives at News of the World could breach witness protection and attempt to pervert the course of justice with impunity.
If you haven’t heard this story, ask yourself why.
And if you’re outraged, fight against the Murdoch bid for Sky and insist on Leveson Two.