Met hacking inquiry chief dined with NOTW staff

The police chief who headed Scotland Yard's inquiry into phone-hacking dined with the News of the World at the height of his criminal investigation into the newspaper.

The sensitively timed meeting between then Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman and the NOTW was left off lists of contacts between senior officers and the paper's owner sent to the Metropolitan Police Authority. Its disclosure in a Freedom of Information request prompted claims that the force had an unduly "cosy relationship" with Rupert Murdoch's print empire News International (NI).

Mr Hayman enjoyed three lunches and two dinners with the NOTW in the two years ending in 2007. One dinner was on 25 April 2006, four months after the Royal Family alerted the Yard to the loss of personal data about Princes William and Harry and four months before anti-terrorist police raided the offices of the NOTW's royal editor Clive Goodman and its private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, in August 2006.

Mr Hayman, who joined the NOTW's sister paper The Times as a columnist after retirement, said he could not remember with whom, or in what circumstances, he had the dinner. He said he could not comment without knowing the details.

His investigation into the NOTW's suspected hacking of the phones of celebrities and politicians was scorned by MPs for failing to interview figures including chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck. Sue Akers, who is leading a new police inquiry, reportedly told one alleged victim, John Prescott, she was "not satisfied" with the original inquiry.

Last night the Met issued a statement saying: "Andy Hayman was the Metropolitan Police and Acpo lead for counter-terrorism, and this area of high public interest and concern was his main purpose for meeting with the media. All hospitality must be recorded and these meetings with NI were recorded in the hospitality register."

The MP Tom Watson said: "It is utterly unbelievable a senior investigating officer could think it appropriate to socialise with executives from an organisation he was investigating. We need to know who knew, who was there and what was discussed."

Two months ago, the Met disclosed that Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson had dined with the NOTW seven times between 2006 and 2010, during which time his force turned down calls for the hacking investigation to be reopened. This week it disclosed a further 20 meetings with NI, including a lunch Mr Hayman enjoyed at The Times in February 2006, while he was investigating its sister title.

Neither list disclosed his five NOTW engagements: two dinners in November 2005 and April 2006, and three lunches in March, September and November 2007. Acting Commissioner Tim Goodwin described the failure to list them as "an oversight".

Liberal Democrat MPA member Dee Doocey said: "It is extraordinary that when serious allegations about illegal phone-hacking relating to the News of the World were still unresolved, the Commissioner and senior officers thought it was acceptable to devote so much time networking with senior executives of News International. I have real concerns about the appropriateness of such a cosy relationship."

How Andy Hayman ended up on Murdoch's payroll

Andy Hayman took charge of the phone hacking investigation in December 2005 because the publication of personal details about the Royals had caused security concerns.

The Assistant Commissioner was the UK's top counter-terrorism officer. His inquiry led to the conviction of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman – which he said sent a strong message to journalists.

But his investigation was criticised by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee for not going far enough, failing to look into Mr Mulcaire's contract and an emailed transcript marked "for Neville". The MPs said: "The Metropolitan Police's reasons for not doing so seem to us to be inadequate."

Mr Hayman resigned in 2007, complaining about "unfounded allegations" over his expenses and an alleged relationship with a junior officer. He became a columnist on The Times, the NOTW's sister title.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album