Saturday 18 November 2017

Rift deepens as Ramsay father-in-law admits hack

TV chef Gordon Ramsay
TV chef Gordon Ramsay

Scott D'Arcy, London

An admission by Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law to hacking the TV chef's company computers is the latest twist in a long-running public spat between the two men.

Chris Hutcheson Snr, the father of Ramsay's wife, Tana, was once the former footballer's business partner in his restaurant empire.

But the family rift began when Hutcheson Snr, who pleaded guilty at London's Old Bailey yesterday to a charge of conspiring to cause a computer to access programmes and data without authority, was sacked in 2010.

The trouble dates back to 2008, when Ramsay's restaurant business ran into financial difficulty. Both men dipped into their own pockets in a bid to keep it afloat, with accounts at the time showing Ramsay put £3.5m (€4.1m) into the business, while Hutcheson (68) gave £1.5m (€1.8m).

In October 2010, Mr Hutcheson Snr was sacked after 12 years as Ramsay's partner.

The following month, the Scot issued an open letter in the 'Evening Standard' to his mother-in-law, Greta, pleading with her to stop "punishing" her daughter by asking her to stay away. In an interview, the 'Kitchen Nightmares' star said: "Basically, she was saying, 'get rid of Gordon'. Get rid of me. That was the thing that tipped me over the edge."

His open letter also accused Mr Hutcheson Snr of running the business as "a dictator", and claimed his staff had looks of "relief and joy" on their faces when he told them he was gone.

But a friend of Mr Hutcheson Snr told the 'Standard' the rift had been caused by the manner of his dismissal, saying: "Gordon chose to lock him out of the office without notice."

Then, in 2011, lawyers for Ramsay won a High Court ruling allowing Mr Hutcheson Snr's computer to be searched over claims the restaurateur's emails had been hacked.

The emails were said to have included ones between Ramsay and his solicitors about his father-in-law's employment tribunal against Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited.

Two of Mr Hutcheson Snr's children - Adam (46) and Chris Jnr (37) - pleaded guilty to the same charge as their father.

Judge Gerald Gordon adjourned sentencing to June 2.

Irish Independent

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