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[ISN] Private detective jailed over shoe boss spying


Press Association
January 28, 2008
Guardian Unlimited 

A private detective who helped to spy on the Jimmy Choo shoe boss Tamara 
Mellon was jailed for 21 months today.

David Carroll, 60, from Highgate, north London, played a leading role in 
a City-based agency operation, Active Investigation Services (AIS), 
which specialised in computer hacking and telephone tapping.

London's Southwark crown court heard that the company's customers 
included the banking heir Matthew Mellon, who paid thousands of pounds 
to discover whether his estranged wife was concealing financial 
information in the run-up to their divorce.

Article continues Mellon was cleared last year of any wrongdoing after 
explaining through his barrister that he had no idea the agency would 
break the law.

Carroll was convicted of six conspiracy counts alleging that between 
September 2003 and September the next year he hacked into computers and 
tapped telephones

Passing sentence today, Judge Paul Dodgson told Carroll he was "quite 
convinced from the evidence" that he had been the righthand man of the 
AIS chief, Jeremy Young, a 40-year-old former Met officer who was jailed 
last year for 27 months.

"It is right you were only involved for a period of a year or so, but it 
is significant, when one looks at the timeline, that the bulk of the 
illegalities occurred then."

Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, said Young had first come to the 
attention of the authorities after colleagues discovered him working at 
AIS while claiming long-term sick leave for depression.

Complaints of phone intercepts began flooding into BT at about the same 
time. Engineers later found that hundreds of made-to-order tapping kits 
had been installed across the country by a former engineer on the AIS 

The court heard that Carroll's tenure at AIS saw him involved in efforts 
to spy on a waste management company's critics, tap the phones of a 
client's wife suspected of having an affair, and target Mrs Mellon.

The company charged 3,000 for phone tapping, itemised line billing was 
priced at 750 a month, while personal banking information could be 
bought for 2,000 and confidential medical records for 500. Hacking into 
a computer was available for 5,000.

The company stooped to illegally using disabled car parking badges 
during operations and occasionally lied to customers to conceal failure, 
the court was told.

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