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Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law admits hacking company computer amid legal row

Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law has admitted hacking the computer system of the celebrity chef's company.

Chris Hutcheson, 68, was charged under Operation Tuleta with conspiring to cause a computer to access programmes and data without authority.

Three of his children, Adam Hutcheson, 46, Orlanda Butland, 45, and Chris Hutcheson Jnr, 37, also faced the same charge.

Hutcheson Snr, who is the father of Ramsay's wife, Tana, was involved in a very public falling out with the chef, some of which was aired in legal battles heard at the High Court.

The defendants appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday before Judge Gerald Gordon and spoke to confirm their identities.

The three men pleaded guilty, while Ms Butland denied the charge and the prosecution offered no evidence in relation to her case.

Hutcheson Snr, who has a home in Druillat, France, gave the same address as his daughter, of Wycombe Place, Earlsfield, south-west London, while Hutcheson Jnr gave his address as Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and Adam Hutcheson is from Sevenoaks, in Kent.

The charges relate to an alleged plot to hack into the computer system at Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd (GRHL) between October 23 2010 and March 31 2011.

At a previous hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, prosecutor Dan Suter said: "It is a convoluted and voluminous case.

"The prosecution concerns the hacking of the computer system of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd, and the email accounts of Gordon Ramsay Ltd employees.

"At the time of the alleged conspiracy, Chris Hutcheson Snr had been dismissed by Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd. He has previously held a senior position with GRHL.

"The prosecution would say as a result of that dismissal he was motivated to access unlawfully the computer system.

"There was surrounding civil litigation after his dismissal.

"Subsequently Adam Hutcheson was also dismissed from GRHL."

The prosecution alleged emails were exchanged between Chris Hutcheson Snr and Adam Hutcheson, discussing how they could "crack into" specific email accounts of GRHL employees.

At the magistrates' court hearing the prosecution said the accounts were hacked in order to gain access to material that could prove useful in the civil litigation proceedings.

The court was told a firm of solicitors had been instructed in relation to an alleged affair between Chris Hutcheson Snr and Sara Stewart.

She claimed there was a breach of privacy after a photograph of her was sent on, it was claimed.

Mr Suter said: "It was alleged by Sara Stewart there had been a breach of privacy in relation to a photograph that was taken.

"It was alleged that he had been sent that email in breach of an undertaking.

"As a result of the alleged breach of privacy, it is then that the defendants tried to access the system, to determine whether Gordon Ramsay had then sent that picture on even further in breach of the undertaking."

Once Gordon Ramsay realised he had been had been hacked, he instructed an expert who identified the IP addresses of those involved.

Mr Suter had said: "The IP addresses for the defendants have been determined through the civil litigation papers.

"And a Met Police expert has reviewed those log files, and found almost 2,000 unauthorised entries into the accounts of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd."

All the defendants were bailed after the judge at the Old Bailey agreed to the preparation of pre-sentence reports and said all sentencing options were open.

He adjourned sentencing to June 2 at the same court.

Ms Butland's lawyer, Emma Collins, asked for costs on behalf of her client after Judge Gordon formally entered a not guilty verdict in her case.

He asked prosecutor Robert Sullivan QC whether the Crown's case was that she had "brought the prosecution upon herself".

Mr Sullivan replied: "Yes. Given the verdict your honour has entered I do not seek to rehearse the evidence but the decision was based on public interest not the evidential basis."

The other defendants, who were granted continued bail, face a maximum possible sentence of two years in prison.

The court heard Hutcheson Snr is due to go into hospital later this month for a hip replacement operation.

A spokeswoman for Ramsay declined to comment.

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