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Sinister forces tried to destroy my life, says cuckolded plumber who exposed wife's affair with multi-millionaire lover on web
The cuckolded plumber who used the internet to expose his wife’s affair with her multi-millionaire boss told his full, sensational story last night – and claimed he was subjected to ‘disgraceful’ intimidation by police.
In what he called a victory for free speech, Ian Puddick was cleared on Friday of harassing Tim Haynes, a former director of multi-national City insurance company Guy Carpenter.
Mr Puddick said the verdict also vindicated his belief that he was victimised when counter-terrorism detectives conducted a ‘ludicrous’ £1 million inquiry into his activities after Mr Haynes’ firm hired private detective agency Kroll, alleged to be linked to the police.
‘They tried to wreck my life but I held my ground, never gave up,’ Mr Puddick told The Mail on Sunday. He is now considering taking legal action against City of London Police.
‘This all started as a way of embarrassing Mr Haynes but I created most of the websites to detail how a simple affair exploded – unnecessarily – into a massively disproportionate police operation,’ he said.
Lawyers believe the case at City of Westminster Magistrates Court has set new guidelines for internet freedom of expression.
Mr Puddick claimed that at one point detectives told him that undercover officers were despatched to Hyde Park in London to monitor speeches he made at Speakers’ Corner.
He also allegedly received threatening phone calls, suffered a ‘professional’ break-in at his house in
which court papers were stolen and faced false accusations of drug-taking from police.
And a few weeks before his court case started, Mr Puddick said he was pulled over by police while driving his van in North London and handcuffed without being read his rights.
An officer explained that it was suspected his van was stolen – but the plumber was later freed when checks proved this was not the case.
Kroll used to be owned by UK-based holding company MMC, the same firm that owns Guy Carpenter, which hired the private detectives to investigate Mr Puddick.
There is nothing to suggest either firm was involved in any illegal activity. But Mr Puddick believes that at the very least the affair exposed what he describes as a ‘curiously cosy’ relationship between Kroll and City of London detectives, who held at least one meeting about the case.
‘You have to ask yourself whether all this would have happened had Mr Haynes been a milkman and not a man of power and substance. And I can’t help thinking that sinister forces were at work,’ he said.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Puddick, 41, with his Finnish wife Leena at his side, openly discussed her seven-year on-off affair, its devastating aftermath and how they now hope to rebuild their lives.
Somewhat less candidly, Mrs Puddick, also 41, offered for the first time an explanation of her behaviour. She spoke, too, of ‘unbearable guilt’ and how, looking back, she believes she must have been in love with two men at the same time.
It was on May Bank Holiday in 2009 that Mr Puddick’s life was brutally upturned. He had intercepted a text message on his wife’s phone while he relaxed in his garden listening to Radio 4.
‘Leena’s phone buzzed, I called her and she completely overreacted. She said not to touch it and she would be down in a minute.
‘Because of her reaction I did look. It was a sex text from Haynes about what they had been up to.’ He found other explicit messages and a photo of Mr Haynes, 52, performing a sex act in a bathroom.
‘I was knocked for six, I couldn’t function or do anything. I had not suspected a thing,’ he said.
‘I demanded to know exactly what had been going on. She started to tell me but I didn’t want to hear any lies so I said, “Stop. Think what you are going to tell me and come back when you have thought about it.”
‘I went away for a week, completely heartbroken. I came back and told her I was ready to hear what she had to say.’
His wife recalled: ‘Oh God. I still tried to lie. If it was Ian he’d never have lied and would have been straight and told me everything. But I held things back.’
Mr Puddick said: ‘Her lies were pathetic but much of the story did eventually come out.’
He learnt the affair started when his wife, a secretary, had sex with her immediate boss Mr Haynes at an office Christmas party in 2002.
‘I don’t remember much about it but I do remember dancing on the tables at the party,’ she said.
Their affair lasted around six months before she ended it, determined to build a life with Mr Puddick, whom she had met at a wine bar a year earlier. Then, she said, she spent years enduring unwelcome advances from Mr Haynes before finally succumbing a few months after she married Mr Puddick in October 2007.
‘It almost seems like a dream but Haynes was so attentive. He said I was the most wonderful, desirable woman in the world,’ she said.
Mr Puddick admits he is not the most demonstrative of husbands. ‘She didn’t get all that “I will love you to the day I die” and “you are the centre of my universe” from me, he said. ‘And I wouldn’t have sent her love letters the way he did. I’m just not like that.’
Meanwhile, Mrs Puddick conceded that she was ‘flattered’ by the attention from her boss. ‘When women have affairs they want attention. And for women it is much more about the romancing.
‘I tried not to get drawn back into it but he was so constant, he was always there. I sat at a desk outside his office so I saw him all the time. He would take me for drinks and lunches.
‘Sometimes I turned him down but he was so persuasive. He would bombard me with text messages. I should have walked away, left my job, after the first affair ended.
‘But I loved the team I was working with and coming from Finland it wasn’t as if I had family and childhood or student friends here.’
Mrs Puddick’s relationship with her husband had started falteringly in 2002, and was later prone to ‘ups and downs’ chiefly because of his reluctance to make a serious commitment.
Brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness in North London, Mr Puddick had a ‘dysfunctional childhood by most people’s standards’.
‘I wasn’t encouraged to go to school so I left with no real qualifications,’ he said. ‘My mother wanted me to find work within the Church, possibly as a missionary.
‘I decided that learning a trade would be helpful if I was to be sent to some far-flung corner so I trained as a plumber and was very good at it, though I disliked the work.’
Mr Puddick was named Master Plumber of the Year at the age of 19 by the Federation of Master Plumbers – the youngest person ever to receive the title.
In his spare time he trained as a minister and married a girl he met through church.
‘During our courtship we were only allowed to spend half an hour together each week – and that was in the company of a chaperone. So we didn’t know each other well enough when we got married. It was a disaster.’
Divorce meant being forced to leave the Church, which devastated his mother. ‘But religion is still with me and it has given me a strong moral ethic.’
Changing careers, he achieved success as a sales manager and rose quickly, at one point training other salesmen and addressing conferences of thousands of people.
Mr Puddick started his own business as a communications consultant, and experienced a particular high point when he worked with Buckingham Palace officials to make the Queen’s Christmas message available to access by phone and internet.
But he and his firm experienced financial troubles and in 2003 he was forced to return to plumbing.
Ian met Leena in 2002 and for two years resisted her subtle hints about settling down, or
at least living together. ‘It sounds silly really, ‘ he said. ‘But I still believed strongly that sex before marriage was hypocritical and that living together was wrong.
‘At the same time I knew that in order to avoid making the same mistake again I had to live with the person I would eventually marry.
‘It was a massive deal for me. If I was going to do it again I wanted it to be absolutely right.’
At this, his wife laughed mirthlessly: ‘As you can see it went really well.’ As later events would bear out, Leena – who ‘isn’t religious at all’ – was considerably more morally flexible. ‘I wanted to live together and get married and have children but I understood how Ian felt,’ she said.
When they did eventually marry in 2007, Leena’s affair with Mr Haynes, a married father-of-three from Billingshurst, West Sussex, was an uncomfortable memory.
The attention – or harassment as she puts it – from Mr Haynes had eased when she and Mr Puddick got engaged.
‘He [Mr Haynes] decided to channel his energies into something else, so he ran the New York marathon. But even though his wife was there with him he texted me as soon as he crossed the line.’
And when Leena married, she said her boss told a colleague it was the ‘worst day of his life’.
Beyond being worn down by his repeated requests to meet for lunch and drinks – and vague frustration at her husband’s reluctance to have children – she is at a loss as to why she embarked on a second affair so soon after finally getting married.
‘There are no excuses really,’ she said. ‘I assumed children would follow naturally and they didn’t.’
Turning to her husband, she then said: ‘You are so self-assured and I am much more insecure.’
‘I am not attentive, I don’t know why,’ Mr Puddick replied.
She said: ‘You don’t need attention, but I do, I’m more needy.’
As with the previous liaison, the second affair was largely conducted at wine bars, restaurants and hotels around the City.
‘We would often entertain clients around the country so Tim would always make sure I was there to help,’ she recalled. ‘The affair started in May 2008 and became sexual in July, although the sex was always fuelled by alcohol.
‘We were drinking every day at long lunches, and later going back out again to bars and then to a hotel. Tim would tell his wife he was staying up in town entertaining clients.
‘And of course there were so many texts, some of them sexual.’
Asked if she responded with similar texts, her husband interjected: ‘You must have done!’
Lowering her head, Mrs Puddick replied almost inaudibly: ‘Yes I did.’
After a moment’s pause she went on: ‘But now I was married to Ian. It was horrible and made me physically sick but I would still go along with it. I know it’s no excuse but I was always drunk. I have never drunk as much as I did that year.’
Then, breaking down, she added: ‘To live with the fact that I was unfaithful such a short time after the marriage is horrendous. Getting married was all I wanted, and then to see how much I had hurt Ian, the pain ...
‘You have a bottle of wine every day and emotions are all over the place. During that intense period I thought that I probably loved him, I must have. But I loved Ian as well. Oh God, yes.’
After the affair was uncovered the couple spoke of divorce but gradually became reconciled. Mr Puddick believed that in order to kill off the affair for good he had to tell Mr Haynes’s wife Annja.
‘I got to the house but no one was in. I walked round the side of the house feeling jealous, angry, upset – whatever emotions you could possibly imagine, they were all there – and I really wanted to know what he looked like as well.
‘You want to know what it’s about, why? Who is he? That kind of stuff.
‘At the side of the house there are big patio doors I looked in. It’s a big house. There’s a big fireplace with pictures and stuff on the mantelpiece. But I just couldn’t quite see. It was very frustrating.
‘Next to it there is a little brick house with their boiler in it. So there was a lever for the oil and I turned it off. Silly really. That was more out of hurt and upset, but obviously it was the wrong thing to do.
‘The next day I drove down there again and Mrs Haynes answered the door and I said, “You don’t know me but my wife Leena works with Tim.”
‘She said, “Yes I know Leena,” and I remember thinking, “How do I tell her? How do I tell her?” So I just thought the kindest way is, “I’ve got something to tell you that you might want to hear.”
‘So she almost knew something like that was coming. She paused and she said, “OK, you’d better come in”. I went in, sat at the kitchen table. I told her about the texts and the affair and was there for maybe three of four minutes. I showed her the love letters from, Tim. Then she asked me to leave.’
Mr Puddick insisted that his wife transfer to another department and rang her company’s chief executive. It never happened because it was deemed too impractical. Instead, believing a separation was imminent, Mr Haynes offered to install Mrs Puddick in a flat as a ‘kept woman’. She declined.
It was around this time that Mr Puddick began receiving threatening phone calls including one, he claims, from an employee of Guy Carpenter who allegedly told him: ‘We’ve got deep, deep pockets and we’re going to **** you like you’ve never been ****ed before.’
He added: ‘After that call my house was raided, then my office was raided, my company accountants were raided.
‘These were 12 or 13 armed counter-terrorism police – quite why they came from this department has never been adequately explained.’
After his arrest in August 2009 Mr Puddick made a full statement and was then told officers needed to speak to him about another matter. At this interview Puddick said officers tried to bully him into confessing to taking cocaine.
Giving evidence last week he said: ‘I was absolutely clear they were corrupt, the officers investigating.
‘I have never had anything to do with drugs, never. One of the officers was saying, “Stop ****ing lying to me. Don’t lie to me.’
In another interview he was given the impression that police were monitoring him even more closely. ‘I was told undercover cops were sent to Speakers’ Corner to listen to me make speeches. I was talking there about the police investigation against me and the cost to the taxpayer. I was also handing out leaflets.’
It was in February that Mr Puddick claims his house was broken into and his court papers stolen.
Last year Mr Haynes was forced to resign before the start of a disciplinary hearing into his expenses, which Mr Puddick said had fraudulently funded their affair.
Mrs Puddick went off sick from work and was made redundant last year.
‘Now we are slowly starting to pull things together,’ she said.
‘It has been hard but I am proud of what Ian has achieved and I am grateful that he has forgiven me.’
Asked about Mr Puddick’s claims, the City of London Police said: ‘An internal investigation found that there was no misconduct. There was no action taken.’
And a Kroll spokeswoman said: ‘The accusations made by Mr Puddick against Kroll are completely false. In 2009, Kroll was retained by Guy Carpenter to investigate threats against Guy Carpenter and its clients.
'Through the use of civil court orders, Kroll obtained information that enabled the City of London Police to arrest and charge Mr. Puddick.’