July 24 2011

– Scotland Yard detectives confused the phone-hacking file of actress Leslie Ash with the father of one of two schoolgirls murdered by Ian Huntley in a bizarre mix-up.

The embarrassing blunder took place when Miss Ash asked police to disclose all evidence that showed her phone may have been hacked by private detective Glen Mulcaire.

At a meeting at Scotland Yard in January, the Men Behaving Badly actress was ‘horrified’ to be shown notes with the phone number and PIN of the mobile belonging to Leslie Chapman.

Leslie Ash
Leslie Chapman

Confusion: Scotland Yard detectives mistook phone-hacking files of actress Leslie Ash (left) with Leslie Chapman (right) the father of murdered schoolgirl Jessica

His daughter Jessica was murdered in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.

It appears detectives made the mistake because Miss Ash is married to former footballer Lee Chapman.

Until that point, Scotland Yard had not been aware that Jessica’s father had been one of the possible victims of phone-hacking.

Miss Ash’s solicitor, Charlotte Harris, said she noticed the mistake when she saw that the victim’s address was identified as Soham rather than Fulham, where Mr Chapman and Miss Ash were living.

She said: ‘They [the police] hadn’t realised that the papers also included Leslie Chapman. It was a horrible moment for Leslie, who had no idea that the News of the World were also possibly targeting the families of murdered children.’

The parents of Jessica and Holly Wells, the children murdered by

Ian Huntley, have been contacted by Scotland Yard detectives. It is believed they were warned there was evidence to suggest they were targeted by Mulcaire, the private investigator formerly employed by the paper. Miss Ash and Mr Chapman are suing the News of the World.

Victims: Holly Wells (left) and her best friend, Jessica Chapman (right), both 10, were murdered by Ian Huntley

Victims: Holly Wells (left) and her best friend, Jessica Chapman (right), both 10, were murdered by Ian Huntley

– Robert Verkaik


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