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
What did Max Clifford say?
Sean and I went to see Nicola Philips at Max Clifford’s office a couple of times. She wanted us to put our names to it. I wasn’t prepared to do so.
What do you mean by putting your name to it?
She wanted us to step up to the plate. Have our names and faces in the papers, etc.
So, you didn’t want to be in the papers and got cold feet?
And then you decided to approach the Royal himself?
Yes. There were various meetings going on.
And what was his reaction?
The thing is, I attempted to speak to Linley personally but he then (laughs) wouldn’t take my call funnily enough. I ended up conversing through the Royal conduit. He may not actually have been giving Linley the whole truth. I think he was embarrassed to be having the conversations with him. But I think he was shocked.
Why did you not simply give him the tape or just get rid of it?
That’s what we offered to do. That’s what the meeting was about. The Royal’s lawyer offered us money for the material – on several occasions. I told him he could have it for nothing. As my co-defendant did and there’s evidence of that on the police transcripts. But he said to us he’d prefer to give us a golden handshake – a thank you – to ensure the copyrights, (so) that we had no hold over this material in the future, if we ever decided to sell it. He said he would complete a waiver for us to sign. I was in full agreement with that. But we did offer it to them for nothing. There was like tape-recorded conversations that the police had and there was never any evidence of me making any demand for money. With blackmail, to have a demand of menace you need to have a financial demand and the menace. But there was never any evidence of that.
On the Hilton hotel arrest tapes, you say: ‘If you purchase the tapes...’?
Correct. But the line was never completed. I wasn’t given the opportunity to complete the sentence. That was our point in court – there was never any demand with menace. I was asked the question, ‘If we don’t purchase the tapes?’ (I replied), ‘If you don’t purchase the tapes, then...’ I never actually completed the sentence.
How much was the golden handshake going to be?
It’s not a lot, is it?
Not very much at all. If I was going to blackmail someone – and especially if I know what he’s worth – I’d ask for a hell of a lot more than £50,000. I was being offered more by the newspapers. News Of The World was talking £250,000. During the trial, there were offers being made to Giovanni of £500,000 and £1 million for the tapes. £2 million for the tapes. We could’ve sold them if it was about the money.
It’s been reported that you forged a document to pretend the News Of The World had offered you £250,000 for the story?
I suspect that the News Of The World put this out to damage my reputation. That contract was given to me by a journalist in the News Of The World. The figure was discussed. It was written on a piece of paper.
What happened when you went to the Hilton Hotel for the meeting at which you were arrested?
We were in that room for an hour and a half. I’ve watched the tapes several times myself – there’s nothing ever said in that room to provoke an arrest. I think the police just got fed up waiting and they just decided to pounce. The door burst open and armed anti-terrorist officers entered the room. I was pulled out of sight of the hidden camera in the room and my arm was twisted behind my back; I was then cuffed in the toilet, and that’s when they broke my hand. I suffered a fracture to the fourth metacarpal when I was arrested. I think the anti-terrorist police are used to dealing with struggling terrorists rather than an alleged Royal blackmailer.