A “sophisticated fraudster” questioned about the alleged hacking of an iCloud account belonging to the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister has been warned he faces jail after admitting credit card fraud and blackmail.
Nathan Wyatt was arrested last year by police investigating the hacking of Pippa Middleton’s account, amid reports pictures of Kate and her children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were among thousands of images taken.
The 37-year-old father-of-three was released with no further action in relation to the case last week.
Pippa Middleton with her sister, the Duchess of Cambridge (Adam Davy/PA)
Wyatt admitted at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday 20 counts of fraud, one of possessing a false passport, and one count of blackmail in relation to a demand for 10,000 euro from a law firm.
The offences, committed between April and December 2016, included using credit cards – one in the name of a dead man – to buy items such as hair straighteners, mobile phones, a Nutribullet, Guitar Hero games and a Disney Frozen toy.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan said: “As a result of media contact with the police in relation to the images of Ms Middleton, the defendant was arrested in relation to the matter. At that time devices were seized from the (defendant’s) address.”
Southwark Crown Court in south London (Sean Dempsey/PA)
She said Wyatt had come into possession of IDs and passwords after the law firm was affected by malware software, and subsequently hacked into the system to get confidential information with which to blackmail the company.
In relation to the person or persons responsible for the malware Ms Morgan said: “We cannot prove who did that.” She described Wyatt as a “sophisticated fraudster on the Internet” who was able to get hold of “very personal information”.
His Honour Judge Peter Testar described the blackmail offence as “a particular type of cyber blackmail”. He said: “Particularly in light of the conviction for blackmail he (Wyatt) must anticipate a substantial custodial sentence.”
Pippa Middleton’s hacked account reportedly contained pictures of Kate and her children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Wyatt, of Henshaw Road in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on October 19 at the same court.
The prosecution offered no evidence against Wyatt’s 39-year-old partner Kelly Walker, of the same address, who had faced a charge of handling stolen goods and another of encouraging or assisting the commission of offences.
Last year the High Court heard that Pippa Matthews, then Middleton, had “good reason” to fear that all information held in her iCloud account had been hacked.
Mrs Justice Whipple made orders barring publication of photographs and other material held on the account after Mrs Matthews and her husband, then fiance, James Matthews took civil court action against a “person or persons unknown” as a result of pictures allegedly being taken from the account.