Exclusive: 'News of the World computer hacker' exposed Scotland Yard mole

After working undercover for nine years, murder suspect claims Derek Haslam was compromised by private detective with links to News International

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In his first interview in 25 years (above), Jonathan Rees lifts the lid on hacking, alleged police corruption and his work for Rupert Murdoch's News of the World.

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A POLICE “mole” who secretly infiltrated a private detective firm for Scotland Yard was exposed after he was identified by an alleged computer hacker with links to the News of the World.

Former Met police officer Derek Haslam worked undercover for nine years with Jonathan Rees, the co-founder of Southern Investigations, who was a suspect for one of London’s most notorious unsolved murders.

However, the 65-year-old’s cover as “Joe Poulton” was blown when the personal computer he used to send covert intelligence back to his police handlers was compromised by the alleged hacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The man – who is a known associate of Rees and whom we shall call Mr Anderson - has previously been accused of computer hacking for the News of the World.

In an interview with Independent Voices, Rees said: “(Someone) gave (Mr Anderson) an IP address and he identified Haslam from that.”

When asked if that was done through “legal means”, he replied: “Well, there’s ways and means, technical ways and means, I would imagine legal means…I think so, I don’t know.”

Haslam’s undercover work for the Met began in 1997 when he was asked to infiltrate Southern Investigations to gather evidence on Rees, who was a suspect for the murder of his former business partner.  Daniel Morgan, 37, was found with an axe embedded in his skull in a Sydenham pub car park in 1987.

Haslam claims one of Southern Investigations’ main clients was News of the World executive Alex Marunchak whose name was “constantly mentioned” inside the firm.

While he was undercover, Haslam suspected his computer had been hacked in 2006 when it started “running slowly” at home in Norfolk.

He refused to speak to Independent Voices because he is currently suing Scotland Yard. However, we obtained a confidential briefing he passed to investigators.

He said: “I told my (handlers) something is up so they said they’d check it. I handed over my computer and they examined the hard drive and confirmed it had been hacked.”

“They found a document on it and said ‘any idea what this is’ and I said ‘that’s one of my intelligence documents’ and I said ‘who’s got it’? They said ‘it’s been taken off your computer’…and there’s a virus been put on your computer.”

At the time, Rees admits he was in possession of one of Haslam’s 11-page intelligence reports to his handlers, which includes allegations that Southern Investigations burgled MPs to obtain embarrassing information it could sell to newspapers.

When asked how he got it, Rees replied: “I received…a copy of, er, this six-week window of his reports. Now, the police…believe that was (leaked to me) by a sympathetic source within (the Met).

When asked if Mr Anderson had hacked the report, Rees replied: “Not to my knowledge. That is something he denies…he absolutely denies it. We just can’t say how that document was obtained.”

However, a document dated 2012 written by Rees’ lawyers – seen by Independent Voices – identifies Mr Anderson as the possible source.

“In late 2006 Rees received a document that appeared to be a print of a computer file, in the format of a draft report or reports to “handlers” by “Joe Poulton”,” it read. “Rees was convinced from factual references that the author must be Derek Haslam.”

In a footnote to the document, his lawyers wrote: “This seems to have been “hacked” from Haslam’s computer by Mr Anderson.”

A source close to Rees’ legal team claims to possess a taped confession from Mr Anderson, who is said to admit hacking Haslam’s computer. 

When asked how the police obtained evidence on computer hacking, Rees replied: “It may have come from Mr Anderson’s computer, but there won’t be any links to me…and I would think nothing to do with Alex Marunchak, either.”

When pressed on the allegation, he replied: “Thank God Mr Anderson was out there and exposed Haslam for what he was…if he did hack Haslam, good.”

When contacted by Independent Voices, Mr Anderson said: “I cannot talk to you about any of this.”

However - when told of the allegations in Rees’ legal papers - he added: “That is something that they will have to justify and prove.”

When asked whether he had made a confession of computer hacking, he replied: “Once again, they will have to justify, support and prove that.”

Finally, when he was asked whether he legally identified Haslam “through an IP address”, Mr Anderson replied: “That is really something that…you should take up with Jonathan Rees. I am not prepared to go into this discussion unless my solicitor is present.”

In a bizarre twist, a freelance journalist who has known Rees and Mr Anderson for more than 15 years wrote openly to the Met in June 2007 and enclosed a copy of the Haslam intelligence report.

The undercover agent had mentioned Sylvia Jones in the briefing and the ex-crime reporter was complaining to Scotland Yard to say his allegations about her work were false.

When asked by Independent Voices how she obtained a copy of the potentially unlawfully obtained document, Jones said it had been posted to her anonymously shortly before she made the complaint. She did admit seeing an extract 12 months earlier but refused to say who showed it to her.

Last week, Independent Voices revealed Haslam warned his handlers that Southern Investigations were looking for “dirt” on police and politicians in a bid to “control” them.

We also disclosed how Southern Investigations put former Met commissioner Lord Stevens under surveillance in 1999.

Haslam worked undercover for nine years with Rees, trying to solve one of London’s most high-profile unsolved murders. However, when his cover was blown he claims Scotland Yard offered him the chance to go into the witness protection programme – a system he claims he saw repeatedly compromised by the agency.

Rees said this was “wholly untrue”. It is understood Haslam turned down the offer of protection, decided he would look after himself and asked for a payout. However, this is thought to have been rejected by the Met.

He is now suing Scotland Yard for failing in its duty of care to protect him. It is understood one element of his case centres on the Met’s failure to prosecute the offenders who compromised his computer.

Daniel Morgan’s brother Alastair said: “Last week, it was disclosed that Derek Haslam worked undercover at Southern Investigations for nine years, passing back widespread intelligence of criminality to the Met, who did absolutely nothing about it.

“Now, we discover that Haslam – who put his life on the line when he infiltrated this firm – was exposed by an alleged computer hacker who has worked on behalf of the News of the World. Again, the Yard did absolutely nothing.

“The whole case just gets murkier and murkier. The only avenue left is for Home Secretary Theresa May to order a judicial inquiry into my brother’s murder. The Met cannot be trusted to get to the bottom of all this.”

The fifth investigation into the Daniel Morgan murder collapsed last year and Rees was acquitted. Detectives working on the various criminal probes into News International have arrested around 80 different people so far. Rees and Marunchak, who supplemented his News of the World income by working as a Ukrainian translator for the Met for 20 years, are not among them.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are not prepared to discuss these matters.”

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