I can now discuss this as Colin Whelan pleaded guilty this week. In 1999 I worked in Irish Permanent on behalf of KPMG Consulting. I was building an online channel for mortgage applications. In building this solution we leveraged existing backend mainframe systems by building an MQSeries bridge. The responsibility for building the mainframe MQSeries integration was with Colin Whelan. We had to work quite close together and we had a good working relationship. Around the same time I meet up with my college buddies. It turns out that one of their girlfriends worked with Colin's wife. In fact they were quite close, socialising together frequently. Having mutual friends help ensure myself and Colin got on even better. Then around January 2001 Irish Permanent switched off webmail access for security reasons. As I was a consultant I asked for exclusion as I needed to access my corporate email account. They agreed and gave me access. Since I was the designated Internet expert/consultant Colin approached me as he was having trouble accessing his hotmail account. I explained why he couldn't access it, and further explained that I had been given access. I suggested that if he had urgent email then he could log in using my account, and so he did. In what was the stupidest thing I've ever done I gave him my account details. About 6 weeks later his wife was found at the end of the stairs. We were devastated, and felt for him. Then there was suspicion, and a post mortem. People couldn't believe that she'd been strangled. We asked ourselves could Colin have done it. It rocks your foundations. I believed I was a good judge of character and Colin was one of the most affable, likeable person you could meet. Then the Garda/Police arrived into Irish Permanent and took away his PC. I gulped, I knew I had to tell them that he was using my account. It would come out sooner or later, so better to do it now and save hours/days of police time. I told them, and I was reprimanded. There were those who didn't want this action, they felt it might discourage people coming forward in the future. Nevertheless, it was a bank, it was a stupid thing to do and I deserved it. Then the Garda/Police started taking statements. They had hard evidence that he was researching strangulation on the web. They arrived in one day with a questionnaire for everyone on the floor. The questionnaire highlighted for everyone the sort of searches that Colin was doing. It was of the form:
Did you on xx date search for "strangulation" "blocking windpipe" etc..Irish Permanent in fairness to them supported everyone during this period. They offered a counseling service for both employers, and contractors alike. One of the most disturbing things about this for people who worked with Colin was they knew in hindsight he was up to no good. Colin would have a browser window open and Alt-Tab away from it when people approached. Most, including I thought he was just dossing, browsing the web instead of working. One of the other remarkable things about the investigation was the thoroughness of the Garda/Police investigation. I had given a statement and got a subsequent call to talk to them again. The reason was because my college friend had mentioned he knew me. John Ward appearing twice resulted in a follow up. I very was impressed by this level of professionalism, and expect that this led to Colin pleading guilty this week. He knew that case against him was compelling. The case was unique in that it was the first time that computer evidence was used in a murder trial. As it was the first time there was doubts whether the judge would deem it admissible. I believe indications were that it was to be admitted forcing Colin to take his guilty plea. I am thankful that he did for my own selfish reasons. I would've had to testify, and be cross examined.