Thursday 23 November 2017

News of the World paid me to follow 90 people including Prince William, claims private detective

Former policeman says he surveilled figures including Prince William and the parents of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe

News of the World paid me to follow 90 people including Prince William, claims private detective

Prince William under investigation of News of the world.

A private detective has claimed the News of the World paid him to target more than 90 people, including Prince William, former attorney general Lord Goldsmith and the parents of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, for eight years until it was shut down in July.

Derek Webb, a former policeman who said he started working for the News of the World shortly after setting up his own private detective agency in 2003, has told the BBC's Newsnight he continued to carry out surveillance for the News International title until it was closed at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.

The investigator said he was paid by the paper to follow more than 90 targets including Prince William, Goldsmith, Radcliffe's parents and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.

"I was working for them extensively on many jobs throughout that time. I never knew when I was going to be required. They phone me up by the day or by the night… it could be anywhere in the country," Webb told Newsnight's Richard Watson, in a report to be broadcast on the BBC2 daily current affairs show on Tuesday night.

In 2006 he was asked to follow Prince William while he spent a few days in Gloucestershire.

A former police officer, Webb worked for many years on covert surveillance and had some training from MI5.

He told the BBC he set up his own detective agency in 2003 and was approached shortly after that by the News of the World.

Most of commissions were over the phone, but sometimes he was sent photographs or address details to work from. The orders came from several journalists on the paper, he reveals.

Like Glenn Mulcaire, the other private investigator known to have been used extensively by the News of the World, Webb kept detailed notes of his movements.

"Basically I would write down what they were wearing at the time, what car they were in, who they met, the location they met, the times – the times were very important – and I would keep that.

"And then I would transfer part of it into my diary, but not the actual log itself. Just the names of the people," says Webb.

He said 90% of his targets were celebrities and politicians and that he got calls from "numerous journalists on the news desk".

The BBC said the names of more News of the World surveillance targets would be revealed in Tuesday's Newsnight.

His claims will further add to claims that the News of the World targeted celebrities, royals, politicians and victims of crime on an industrial scale.

The Guardian revealed on Monday that the News of the World had also paid Webb to to run covert surveillance on two of the lawyers representing phone-hacking victims as part of an operation to put pressure on them to stop their work.

Webb secretly videoed Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris as well as family members and associates. Evidence suggests it was part of an attempt to gather evidence for false smears about their private lives.

Last week the Metropolitan police confirmed that the number of possible victims of phone hacking by Mulcaire is now close to 5,800.

This is 2,000 more than previously identified by detectives tasked with trawling through 11,000 pages of notes seized from Mulcaire's home.