London

Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law jailed over hacking plot

Christopher Hutcheson Image copyright PA
Image caption Christopher Hutcheson admitted plotting to steal information from the celebrity chef

Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law has been jailed for six months for conspiring to hack a computer system relating to the celebrity chef's business interests.

Christopher Hutcheson, 68, and his sons Adam, 46, and Christopher, 37, admitted plotting to unlawfully access Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited's system.

The two younger men were both given four month jail terms, suspended for two years, at the Old Bailey.

The judge described the conspiracy as "unattractive and unedifying".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gordon and Tana Ramsay have been married since 1996

The court heard Hutcheson senior was involved in a public falling out with Mr Ramsay during which he tried to break into the chef's emails and find financial details and other information.

Having been sacked as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd, he conspired with his sons to access company systems almost 2,000 times between 23 October 2010 and 31 March 2011.

The Old Bailey was told some of the material might have given the Hutchesons the upper hand during a legal battle heard at the High Court.

Stories about a "hair transplant" and a "fishing trip" also later appeared in the newspapers.

After their actions were discovered, Hutcheson senior sent an email to his son saying: "Guess we have been rumbled. Bit late though."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Hutcheson and his brother Chris were given four month jail terms, suspended for two years

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC told the court the hack was intended "to obtain material that might embarrass Mr Ramsay or be useful in the ongoing dispute with him".

He said items including photos were "provided to the press which led to considerable intrusion into the privacy of the family".

But Hutcheson senior's lawyer Michael Borrelli said his client denied leaking or authorising the leaking of material to the papers.

He also said Hutcheson senior had already paid the chef more than £1m in damages and legal costs, plus his own legal fees of around £1m from the civil case.

Neither Gordon Ramsay or his wife Tana were in court to hear the sentencing.

Mr Christopher said since the civil case had ended the families had reconciled and the pair did not support the criminal prosecution.

The judge said in spite of this, the seriousness of the crime meant immediate imprisonment was appropriate.

Hutcheson senior, of Earlsfield, Hutcheson junior, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and Adam Hutcheson, from Sevenoaks, in Kent, all previously admitted conspiring to cause a computer to access programmes and data without authority in April.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites