If chef Gordon Ramsay reprises his TV series Gordon Behind Bars, he could see a familiar face – after his father-in-law was sentenced to six months in jail on hacking charges.
Chris Hutcheson, 69 – and the father of Ramsay's wife Tana – used to be the chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd but was sacked after falling out with his son-in-law. Hutcheson then recruited his sons Adam Hutcheson, 47, and Chris Hutcheson Jr, 37, to infiltrate the telly chef's computers and dig up some dirt that could be used in a legal case against him.
"Hacking" might be overstating the case, since Hutcheson's sons worked in the IT department of Ramsay's company. The Old Bailey court in London, UK, heard that between October 23, 2010 and March 31, 2011 they illegally accessed Ramsay's computer nearly 2,000 times.
The crease-faced F-bomb chef became suspicious and hired an IT specialist to check out his systems. The investigator found that IP addresses used by his in-laws had been running riot though his files – in one day in February, 2011 Hutcheson Sr logged in 600 times, while Adam Hutcheson accessed it 282 times.
Some of the information was used in Hutcheson's legal case against Ramsay, after the chef accused his father-in-law of embezzling over £1m. But other snippets of information, including details of the chef's hair transplant, were leaked to the press.
When news of the hacking broke, Hutcheson Sr emailed his son Chris, saying, "Guess we have been rumbled. Bit late though." He pled guilty to the charges in April.
"The whole episode of five months amounts to an unattractive and unedifying example of dirty linen being washed in public," said Judge John Bevan QC, The Guardian reports, before sentencing Hutcheson to six months in prison for conspiring to cause a computer to access programs and data without authority.
His sons were given four-month sentences for their part in the scheme, but these were suspended for two years. Charges against Hutcheson's daughter Orlanda Butland were dropped. ®