The woman in her early forties staring at the laptop couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing. Live pictures beamed to her computer showed her husband having a romantic meal in a restaurant in Esher in Surrey with another woman.
The images, recorded by a hidden camera placed in an unmarked white van, were transmitted live back to the married couple’s drawing room deep in the Surrey stockbroker belt. The private investigator sat with the spurned spouse as they stared at the screen, surrounded by expensive antiques and original artworks. “Give him a call,” said the investigator. The woman – let’s call her Claire – picked up her phone.
“Darling,” she said, “I was just wondering where you were?” Her husband, a senior executive in the City, who by now had stepped out of the restaurant and was standing on the pavement, in clear view of the camera, replied: “I’m stuck in the office. I’ll be home late.”
The wife’s worst fears had been confirmed. Like increasing numbers of husbands and wives, Claire had turned to a private investigator to discover if her partner was cheating. The surveillance, which had lasted a week and culminated in her husband being caught red-handed, had cost her £3,000. She told the investigator later that it was money well spent. One firm that sells tracking devices told The Sunday Telegraph it had seen a huge spike in sales, mainly to suspicious wives.
The use of private detectives and the hi-tech methods they employ to catch out unfaithful spouses is a subject rarely discussed in the polite circles of suburban Britain but it emerged out of the murky shadows last week. Dr Diletta Bianchini, 35, a doctor working at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, hired a detective agency to place a GPS tracking device beneath the car of her husband William Sachiti, convinced that rather than working late he was conducting an illicit liaison.