[ISN] The party's over...

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Jan 20 04:46:22 EST 2005


By Tim Walker 
Filed: 16/01/2005

Even when the game was up for the soi-disant Michael Edwards-Hammond, 
he still couldn't help himself. "I am confident that I did nothing 
wrong at Windsor Castle," he told me outside Wandsworth police station 
after his arrest for allegedly impersonating a police officer within 
the grounds of the Queen's Berkshire home.

"I've attended many functions with the princes - Charles, Andrew, 
Harry and William - at private households. I believe that the Royal 
Family will welcome this occurrence because it shows how lax royal 
security is. And perhaps, as Charles has commented to me, it should be 
the job of the Army's most elite unit to take charge of it.

"If this episode results in our monarchy being protected as it should 
be protected, then I feel I've performed a service, not a crime. In 
terms of my forthcoming appearance in court, I will call figures from 
the world of television and royal circles who will speak in my 

At an earlier appearance at Heathrow police station, he had gone 
further and told me: "I am considering calling Charles, William and 
Harry as witnesses. My case is being dealt with directly by [the then 
Home Secretary] David Blunkett and [the Metropolitan Police 
Commissioner] Sir John Stevens."

Blame it on an early interest in drama at school or his time working 
as an estate agent in London, but Edwards-Hammond has long had at best 
a nodding acquaintance with the truth. As it became clear at Isleworth 
Crown Court last week - when, curiously enough, not one of his 
distinguished friends turned up to speak in his defence - the 
double-barrelled name is probably the most modest of the fabrications 
of this extraordinarily persuasive 36-year-old decorator's son from 

Over the years, plain Michael Hammond, Edward is his middle name, has 
duped a succession of supposedly intelligent people and organisations 
with his tall tales. When he telephoned the Metropolitan Police to 
tell them that he was a surgeon fighting his way through heavy London 
traffic to save the life of a child, they gave him a motorcycle 

Other roles he has taken include a film producer - a ruse that has got 
him into numerous parties, gossip columns and the beds of aspiring 
actresses - and a "renowned" polo expert. Senior police officers are a 
speciality and those performances have resulted in innumerable 
innocent members of the public being searched on his orders, an Asian 
family being taken into custody and several harmless pedestrians being 
held at gunpoint near Downing Street.

And he also found the time to strike up friendships with not only the 
Royal Family, but also Dannii Minogue, the singer; Jordan, the glamour 
model; Caroline Stanbury, Prince Andrew's former companion; and Renée 
Zellweger, the Oscar-winning actress. He was also best mates with Sir 
Elton John. They have all, of course, denied his fanciful tales. "I 
checked with Elton and he has never heard of Michael Hammond," says 
David Furnish, Sir Elton's lover.

A spokesman for Clarence House repeated the line: "None of the princes 
can recall meeting this man. They meet hundreds of people at the polo 
matches, usually for just a second or two, so it is not surprising 
they don't remember him."

While it is true that Hammond did accept newspaper "tip-off" fees for 
his tall tales about his own private life, fame or "validation" 
appeared to be the spur and there appears to be some sympathy for him.

"People ask how could we have been taken in by him," one female 
socialite told me last week. "The fact is we didn't care. He was 
young, good-looking, amusing and heterosexual, and in London the women 
outnumber the men at even the most glamourous of parties."

Jessica Callan, the wily editor of the Mirror's 3am diary, recalls 
seeing Hammond at Sir Elton John's post-Oscars party in Los Angeles 
last year. "I was used to seeing him at Bafta parties and lots of 
run-of-the-mill events, but this one was exclusive and I was staggered 
he had got in, but of course that wasn't enough for him. 

He called me over and said, 'Jessica, let me introduce you to my mate 
Robin Williams.' He shouted to Robin and he came over. That's the 
thing about people like Robin - they assume that they must have met 
this guy, but simply forgotten him, so they play along. They don't 
want to create a scene. That's what enables people like Hammond to go 
undetected for so long."

There have been society conmen before - one thinks of Guiy de 
Montfort, who preyed on a succession of wealthy, vulnerable women - 
but selfdestruction seems always to be part of their make up. For 
Hammond, it was his doomed attempt to bluff his way into Windsor 
Castle and for de Montfort it was inviting Nigel Dempster to one of 
his parties. In no time at all, the great Daily Mail gossip columnist 
saw him for the phoney he was.

If, instead of putting all their energy into deceiving people, men 
like Hammond had channelled it into nine-to-five jobs, you can't help 
but imagine that they would now be on the boards of FTSE 100 
companies. Why did they feel such a compulsion to set themselves up 
for dramatic falls? 

"I think Michael felt shame about who he was and where he had come 
from," said a woman who had been "close" to him. "The trouble with 
shame is that it always seems to come with a subconscious desire for 

Hammond, who has 102 previous offences, most for fraud and deception 
and two for impersonating a police officer, will find out what his 
punishment will be on February 4, when he returns to Isleworth for 

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