Aitken papers stolen from solicitors by bogus cleaner
Tuesday 23 November 1999
Benjamin Pell, 35, took black rubbish bags from outside the Harley Street offices of Harkavys at night, disguised as a Westminster council cleaner.
Blackfriars Crown Court was told that among the items found later in Pell's possession were documents revealing that Aitken was embroiled in "personal and public difficulties". Edward Brown, for the prosecution, said the probability was that Pell intended to sell the revelations to a publisher.
The court heard that Pell's home in Hendon, north London, was full of black bags containing similar information. But Eamon Sherry, for the defence, told the court that Pell had an obsession with collecting rubbish - a debilitating and untreatable illness.
The defendant was caught because staff at Harkavys became suspicious when rubbish left out for collection was interfered with on several nights in February. The police set up a surveillance operation over the offices on 26 February.
Mr Brown said: "The defendant was seen going towards 13 Harley Street with some black bags. He walked down to the basement, where he was seen to swap his bags for the ones left out for the bin men. He was returning to his vehicle with four bags when police stopped him."
Police searched Pell's home later that day and discovered between 100,000 and 200,000 documents, as well as a copy of a High Court judgment telling the defendant "that he should not go about collecting confidential waste", Mr Brown said.
Pell admitted a charge of theft from Harkavys Solicitors on 26 February. Sentencing was deferred to 10 December.
Pell was granted bail on condition that he resided at his home address and kept a night-time curfew.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Khorasan: Muhsin al-Fadhli - the man leading a terror group more feared by US officials than Isis
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks own nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Supervisor...
£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Tutoring in Cheshire West &...