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
Even though the UK press are prohibited from publishing the names, you still ended up potentially ruining Linley’s reputation because it’s all over the internet.
I’ll tell you what, if we hadn’t been set up in that hotel room, if Linley hadn’t used his power to draft in the anti-terrorist squad and Royal protection squad, and try to keep the whole thing secret, and try us in secret, and really try to fuck up our lives, then this would have never come to the forefront of the fucking world. In a sense, yes, we are partially to blame, but so are his acts.
Do you feel sorry for him?
It’s a very hard question to answer because I’m sitting in prison doing a five year sentence. What he went through was harsh but – in the same respect – he did stitch us up. And it kind of backfired on him too. He’s ended up with egg on his face. So, I wouldn’t say I feel sorry for him. No. I think the majority of this is his own doing.
Did you know Linley well?
Yeah, I knew him very well – socially. I first met him in the year 2000. I was invited to fourteen of his parties between 2005 and 2007. I was always invited to his home parties. In fact, I got handwritten invitations, done by his hand. I knew his wife and I met his father. Yeah (laughs), I knew him well, but he denied this initially. In the police interview, he denied he ever knew me. So, I produced evidence and photographs of us. Those were put to him over a series of interviews by the police. He said he remembered me. But the evidence was there that we knew each other.
It came out in court that you tried to hawk the tapes to several newspapers.
To be quite frank with you, some were scared off by the severity of the material. They were all worried about being sued. These were all Royal correspondents I was dealing with – they were worried about their reputations and what damage it might cause them with the Royal Family. I was also in touch with The Sun newspaper. Now this is in the trial: the guy who gave evidence, a guy called Duncan Larcombe, I offered the material to Duncan to print for no money whatsoever. He said that in court. That was a big step forward for us in court. We thought, ‘There you go, you know?’ We were dealing with quite a few newspapers at the time. For example, The Daily Express – the question was put to the woman I was dealing with: ‘Did the question of money ever arise?’ Her words were: she thought it was unusual dealing with me because I had no interest in money. No figures ever discussed.
Surely there’s no essential difference between blackmailing him and selling stories to a newspaper?
Flogging stories to papers happens on a daily basis. Some people even make their living out of it. Some people do that full-time. So there is a difference – because for blackmail there has to be a demand with menace and selling stories to papers is just legal, isn’t it?
Why did the newspaper deal fall apart to ‘expose’ the aide?
We were offered a certain amount of money and they wanted me to get Linley on tape snorting drugs and saying certain things. To be honest with you, things started spiralling out of control with this and I thought it was time to pull back. They weren’t happy and that’s when I went to see Max Clifford. They found out I’d been to see Max and what I’ve been told – from various journalists – is that with News Of The World, whenever they think they’ve got a scoop and you won’t deal with them, they then grass you up to the source. Apparently that’s what happened in this situation. There were certain offers by the News Of The World and Max Clifford associates as well. News Of The World – or this is the way I perceive the situation – talked to the Royal household because we wouldn’t sell it to them. They tipped off David Linley that we had this material. Then my co-defendant tried to get in touch with the Royals directly. There was a conduit in place. He got in contact with Sean. Basically he wanted the material. He offered holidays to my co-defendant in France. The way they were going about it was a bit dodgy to me. We were quite prepared to give them the material for nothing – if we got what we wanted and it wasn’t about money.