Email trail: How Tom Watson was stalked

 

Email 1

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: James Mellor
CC: Ian Edmondson
Time: 10.05am, 26 September 2009

Tom Watson MP who is a close lackey of Gordon Brown (ex-whip, anti-Blair etc) is shagging a [redacted]. The pair are already in Brighton for the conference and he has been creeping into her hotel. [redacted]. My informant knows her but won't push her anymore about where she is staying etc. It will need politics to point out Tom at the conference and then for our biker to follow them. Also if you have someone doing nothing today, can they ring every hotel in Brighton and try to identify where they are staying? They are in separate hotels.

It's a Saturday morning and the News of the World's "fake sheikh", Mazher Mahmood, brings in a tip: Labour MP Tom Watson is "shagging" a female politician. Mahmood describes Watson as a "close lackey" of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and also as "anti-Blair". The email was sent days before News International's biggest daily paper, The Sun, switched its support from Labour to David Cameron's Conservatives. Although totally false, the email – headed: Labour sex scandal – excites the paper's newsdesk. Mahmood makes reference to "our biker". The News of the World may have employed a motorcyclist to follow targets. In 2010, Watson kept noticing a motorcyclist outside his flat.

 

Email 2

From: Ian Edmondson
To: Mazher Mahmood
Time: 10.11am, 26 September

Great story. Get Derek on the case today. Ps he's v easy to spot. You might want to checks his recent cutts, v interesting!

Six minutes after Mahmood sends his email, the assistant editor (News), Ian Edmondson, who is copied into the correspondence, responds "great story" and adds: "Get Derek on the case today." Derek is Derek Webb, the former policeman who followed scores of celebrities, sports people and politicians – including Cabinet ministers – for the News of the World. He would tail his targets, noting down where they went, what they wore and who they met. If Webb found evidence of illicit affairs, he would call the News of the World's newsdesk, who would send a photographer to capture the evidence.

 

Email 3

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: James Mellor
Time: 10.15am, 26 September

Ian suggests we put Derek on the case.

Mahmood informs Mellor, the news editor, that Edmondson, Mellor's superior, does intend to commission Derek Webb.

 

Email 4

From: James Mellor
To: Mazher Mahmood
Time: 10.28am, 26 September

Let me have a think given [redacted] story.

Boss is minded to front [redacted] later today. I'll check when he wants us to go to him and let you know.

Mellor appears to express reservations about deploying Webb, though it's possible this first sentence is about a different story because News International has redacted a key word.

Email 5

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: James Mellor
Time: 10.34am, 26 September

OK.

Mahmood waits for instructions.

Email 6

From: James Mellor
To: Mazher Mahmood
Time: 10.45am, 26 September

Can you put Derek on the Tom Watson case from as soon as he is able. I'll get someone starting to dig into her background and will advise.

Mellor tells Mahmood to order Derek Webb to begin the surveillance on Watson as soon as possible.

Email 7

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: James Mellor
Time: 4.56pm, 26 September

Incidentally the girl involved is [redacted] the election. She is in cutts with pic.

Several hours elapse and Mahmood, apparently pleased with the response from the newsdesk, talks up the Watson story again, referencing the political standing of the woman with whom he erroneously said Watson was having an affair. The phrase "she is in cutts with pic" is a reference to previous newspaper stories about the woman and that there is a picture of her in existence - which the paper could use to illustrate the "Labour sex scandal".

Email 8

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: Ian Edmondson
Time: 12.39pm, 28 September

Any thoughts on how we can track down Watson/ [redacted]? Should we seek help from politics? Incidentally the [redacted] investigation seems to be going well. [redacted] is pals with him. I suggested he says he is a chsuffeur (sic) to an Indian businessman who is a huge [redacted] fan. That would lead to meet with him/drugs/meet with [redacted]/tour of the ground etc. wdyt?

At lunchtime on Monday, having been instructed to commission Webb, Mahmood wonders what else can be done, asking: "Any thoughts on how we can track down Watson?" He wonders whether he should ask the News of the World's political team for help in locating Watson. He then discusses another story, which appears to be something of a fishing expedition, referring to "meet with him/drugs/meet with [redacted by News International]/tour of the ground etc..."

Email 9

From: Ian Edmondson
To: Mazher Mahmood
Time: 1.15pm, 28 September

Will call in half an hour, just up to my eyeballs in another story which I was going to mention to you.

Edmondson is too busy to respond but says he will call shortly.

Email 10

From: Mazher Mahmood
To: Ian Edmondson
Time: 1.33pm, 28 September

Derek en-route to Brighton. I'm going down with Conrad now. Hoping to get [redacted] hotel info from informant.

Mahmood confirms that Derek Webb is heading down to the Labour Party conference in Brighton to tail Watson. Mahmood is also "going down with Conrad" – probably a photographer. Mahmood is hoping his informant will furnish him with the hotel of the female politician.

Webb duly follows Watson for the duration of the Labour Party Conference. The tip, however, is false and the News of the World does not publish any story.

The Independent has redacted parts of these emails to protect the privacy of the woman involved.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Report Writer / Reporting Analyst

£25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Report Writer / Reporting Analyst is nee...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager / Account Executive

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A German speaking Account Manager ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own