- Mulcaire randomly listened to voicemails in the hope of catching Hughes with a boyfriend.
- ‘Any boyfriend – it was a fishing expedition,’ said Mulcaire.
- Mulcaire was showcasing his illegal skills in a bid to win a full-time contract with the Rothermere-owned Sunday paper.
- Mulcaire says he hacked Hughes multiple times.
By Graham Johnson
Editor, Byline Investigates
PHONE hacker Glenn Mulcaire began secretly hacking for the Mail on Sunday – and targeted MP Simon Hughes – after betraying his bosses at rival News of The World.
From mid-2005, Mulcaire feared his £100,000-a-year exclusive contract with Rupert Murdoch’s paper was about to be cancelled.
So he hacked the phone of the ex-Lib Dem MP, in a bid to showcase his illegal skills to – what he considered to be – a more respectable middle-market paper.
Mulcaire needed a middleman to help him deal with the Mail on Sunday, a paper which he knew spent lots of money on illegal “dark arts.”
Byline Investigates has previously revealed how the Mail’s owners Associated News spent £1 million on PIs over the previous decade – and Mulcaire craved a piece of the action.
He turned to his former News of the World handler Greg Miskiw, who by then was working as a freelancer, to ‘front’ the approach to Associated News’ Derry Street HQ.
Miskiw also hoped to cash in on a lucrative arrangement with the Mail on Sunday – and Mulcaire began hacking once again for the man known on Fleet Street as ‘Master of the Dark Arts.’
The private investigator began leaking confidential information from his work for News of The World to Miskiw, who acted as a go-between with the Mail on Sunday.
Last week, Byline Investigates revealed how Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes was targeted by Mulcaire for the Mail on Sunday, which is owned by Lord Rothermere.
In the second instalment, our reporters detailed how The Sun was also targeting Hughes, but using a different PI firm called ELI.
Using ‘blagged’ phone bills, Rupert Murdoch’s flagship daily ‘blackmailed’ him into ‘coming out’ in a homophobic front-page story.
Around March 2006, Simon Hughes began a relationship with a man he had met socially.
Glenn Mulcaire discovered the relationship by hacking Hughes’ phone – and then tracing messages back to the man.
Glenn Mulcaire said: “This started off as a fishing expedition by Greg, to find any boyfriend, at random, by seeing who Hughes was calling and texting, late at night.
“Greg said to me, that if we could identify the name of the boyfriend, it would lead to an extra stream of income from the Mail on Sunday.”
Between March 1st 2006 and 26th April 2006, Mulcaire hacked Hughes on at least four occasions – with one call as long as 8 minutes 53 seconds.
He also intercepted the messages of his alleged boyfriend three times, according to call data from some of Mulcaire’s phone records, later obtained by the police.
But Mulcaire believes the call data records aren’t complete.
He says that he hacked Hughes and his boyfriend many more times than that suggested by the phone records the police managed to find.
Citing other document and audio evidence that was also later seized by the police, Mulcaire states that extra hacks were performed for the Mail on Sunday, and other papers.
From 11 handwritten notes relating to Simon Hughes in 2006 – discovered in Mulcaire’s office by the Metropolitan Police – only three specifically relate to the News of The World.
Mulcaire taped at least five voice messages – four of which related to his alleged boyfriend.
The man with whom Hughes was linked is still not willing to be identified in public, even though twelve years has passed since the ordeal, because the privacy intrusion left him very distressed.
Glenn Mulcaire said: “Even though I had an exclusive contract to hack for the News of The World, that relationship had become strained by 2006.
“I was looking for a new client, and I started hacking for Greg Miskiw who would sell the product to the Mail on Sunday, among other papers.
“I was giving them a combination of hacked material that was “recycled” from the News of The World, and totally new data that was hacked specifically for the Mail on Sunday.
“All of this information was passed to the MoS via Greg Miskiw.
“I identified and located Simon Hughes’ boyfriend exclusively for the Mail on Sunday.”
Notes that were seized by the police from Mulcaire in Operation Caryatid in August 2006 back-up his claims.
One note has handwriting in the top left-hand corner – where Mulcaire wrote down the name of the tasker – which resembles the letters ‘MOS.’
The note names Simon Hughes, and the man, as targets of phone-hacking, and list the numbers of calls and texts.
Mulcaire said: “You can read their names, home address, and their ‘DDMs’.
“These are their Direct Dial Mailbox numbers – special numbers that I would use to go straight through to voicemails, without having to go through the rigmarole of dialing their phone number, and then pressing the options to the voicemail settings.
“It was quicker and easier.
“There is also a PIN number used to access the voicemail, and a password to access their account number with their network provider, so that I could get itemised billing data and texts.”
Mulcaire said he also infiltrated Hughes’ bank account, and that of his friend, in a bid to find ‘funding’ information and ‘cash withdrawals.’
He was told to look for any evidence of “rent boys,” a fact recorded in his note book above a list of most frequently dialed numbers.
The fishing expedition into male sex workers drew a complete blank. There was no evidence that Hughes was paying any sex workers at any point.
Greg Miskiw told Byline Investigates: “After Simon Hughes was outed by The Sun, I was interested in moving the story forward, by tracing Simon Hughes’ boyfriend, as it was not publicly known that he was in a relationship.
“I asked Glenn to find out whoever it was, and he traced a man to an address.
“He was traced using illegal methods.
“Anyway, he found the guy. I told the Mail on Sunday and Glenn continued to monitor the guy’s phone.”
Mulcaire’s call data obtained by the police, reveals that Mulcaire hacked Hughes and his boyfriend on Friday 21st April 2006, whilst Greg Miskiw and the Mail on Sunday were working on the story.
Mulcaire hacked again on Wednesday 26th April 2006.
Then, acting on Miskiw’s illegally-obtained information, the Mail on Sunday sent a reporter and a photographer to doorstep Hughes’s boyfriend.
Glenn Mulcaire continued to hack both men’s phones.
A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said: “This allegation – which relies on the word of a convicted phone hacker, without any corroboration – is utterly baseless and categorically denied. The Mail on Sunday has never commissioned anyone to hack phones, nor have they ever knowingly used information that was illegally acquired by Greg Miskiw.”
More follows in the next installment of our Mail on Sunday hacking investigation.