A Rogue's Gallery
IAN STRACHAN was jailed for blackmailing a member of the Royal Family over allegations of a sex and drugs ‘scandal’. But a media blackout ensured that little of the substance of the case was reported.
Jason O'Toole, 06 May 2009
Who’s idea was it to make these recordings – yours or McGuigan’s?
It was a mutual agreement. First of all, we just got the guy snorting cocaine and stuff like that. It was just a bit of a giggle. We couldn’t actually believe we were doing it. We were just seeing what we could get away with.
I can’t believe they’d do drugs in front of you and then do some sex acts. It sounds like something out of a far-fetched movie.
Definitely (laughs). This was at a party – the Charlie was out on the coffee table and these people were sniffing away. With the rest of the tape, a lot of it happened when we weren’t there, if you get what I’m saying?! So, we weren’t actually in the vicinity at the time. We weren’t like standing over people with our phones out!
Some newspapers reported that the footage was recorded on phones?
It was just inaccurate reporting. We had a substantial amount of DVD-quality video material. Initially, it started off with mobile phone footage and audio recorders and then we progressed by using a surveillance company to get us a few cameras.
You’re basically saying the camera was hidden in the room?
Correct. Whenever we reviewed the tapes we were shocked. We never expected to get what we got. It started off as a joke. It started off as a piss-take. A wind-up. I’m sitting there with a mobile phone in these guys’ faces while they’re snorting Charlie. Snorting coke with the Royal aide and telling all their little stories – and I’m sitting there with a mobile phone in their face, for God’s sake! It was just a joke to start off with. Then we thought, ‘Fucking hell! Just think if we did this properly? What would you get?’
The initial reports said you had less than an hour of footage. You seem to be suggesting that you have a lot more footage.
We turned up at the meeting with clips. I’m not stupid. I’m not going to turn up at a fucking hotel and bring all my wares with me. I was quite happy for them not to know what I have. I’m not going to stand up and say, ‘You know what? We have all this!’ If you go over the court transcripts, I did say that they only got the clips. The police spent £3 million looking for these tapes alone! They were busting open safety deposit boxes all over London. I was giving them red herrings. When I was in Belmarsh, I was writing letters to Sean saying, ‘Thank God we put the tapes in the Harrod’s safety deposit box!’ Next thing you know, we’re watching the news and the anti-terrorist police are cracking open safety deposit boxes in North London. It wasn’t illegal money and drugs they were looking for – it was these tapes.
Did you ever fear for your life?
Of course! My mother was threatened on several occasions, as were other members of my family. I thought I might get shot in the head!
So, why didn’t you just leave the country?
I never thought about that, but I did think what we had was extremely dangerous. As soon as they found out we had it, we just had to roll with it. That’s all we could do. We had to turn up at that meeting with the material. We had no option.
Where did the videotaping take place?
It was filmed over various places in London. It was filmed in the assistant’s apartment and it was also filmed at a couple of parties. It was recorded over a period of about three months. The whole blowjob scenario was a very small point of the tape. When the story came out it was all about the sex act and that was only a very small point in the tapes, to us. There was more shocking and probably damaging stories concerning basically nearly every senior member of the Royal Family.