So, the Southern Investigations wing of the Murdoch scandal just woke up again. It seems that Jonathan Rees, the guy whose business partner in the dodgy detective agency run by moonlighting cops got axed to death and the cop investigating the case took his place before he went to jail as a kiddy fiddler – that guy – you know, says the News of the World hired his firm to watch the then head of the Met, Stevens.
Because of the killing and the planting evidence on the lady and a lot of other stuff, the Met was trying to spy on Rees’ firm at the time, by planting an undercover cop with them. As the firm consisted entirely of undercover cops, this has a distinct taste of The Secret Agent about it.
Anyway, the cop, Derek Haslam, isn’t happy and is in fact suing the Met. Haslam claims that News International were spying on Stevens in order to exert influence on him. This isn’t too crazy, as we know Rees’ long term customer at the News of the World, Alex Marunchak, had Rees’ business follow Dave Cook, the detective investigating the Morgan case, using News vehicles. He also says Rees was hired to spy on, well, Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson, and John Yates, who of course was one of the cops who decided there was nothing worth investigating. And he ought to know, as he was in place up to 2006, when he suspects his computer was hacked.
Now Rees claims the surveillance was directed against a rogue group of cops, at the wishes of the Met leadership, and that’s why there was a police informer placed within his company. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he even believes it. A lot of the people involved are obviously beyond anything as obvious as allegiance. Rees is probably going to try and rebrand himself as one of the victims.
Here’s something interesting, though. Rees:
“We were given instructions and an allegation that he [Stevens] was using a Met police plane from Biggin Hill to see his mistress in Northumbria.
“Now we did organise a surveillance team because it’s what the News of the World wanted and we had team in Northumbria and here, but he never showed so whether the allegation is true or not, who knows.
“The allegation was that he was using…a Metropolitan police federation plane bought by donations from charity, and the petrol, the fuel, to travel up to Northumbria to see his mistress. You can see why people wanted…that story.”
A Met Police plane? This reminded me of something. In October last, in the full flight of the scandal, the Torygraph reported that the Met was operating some fixed-wing aircraft secretly. Supposedly, the two Reims-Cessna 406 were platforms for communications interception, which sounds more like the slack-dozen of RAF and Army Air Corps Islanders that operate from Northolt and elsewhere.
More to the point, as the paper put it, the planes had never been mentioned to the Met Police Authority or as far as I can make out, anyone else. Even more to the point, their registration with the CAA was rather unusual. A nonexistent leasing firm, based at a not-my-address mailbox firm. One of the names is a cop, and then there was the bent copper turned fake Scottish laird..but that’s the Torygraph’s scoop.
So here are the aeroplanes registered to “Nor Leasing”. G-BVJT, serial number 0073, and G-TDSA, serial number 0096. JT has been with “Nor Leasing” since 1995. The names associated are Peter Bennett, Richard Gray, John Charles Carnt (that’s the copper), Stephen Frank Herbert, Mark Evans, and Andrew Jay. SA was registered to “Nor Leasing” in December 2008. Names associated are William Johnson and Mark Evans. So there’s a common mode, even if he’s probably not the Sky News guy.
A footnote: Rees described the aircraft as a “Met Police federation” one, which may be interesting or may just be garbled or possibly sarcastic.