Where the hell is Hale?

2011-10-31 00:00

MIKE Hale took more than a whole lot of money when he left the city. He also took away the financial independence of many people, destroying their futures. He left a festering rumour mill which has seen people pitted against each other. While writing this piece, much of what people told me was “off the record”. “Don’t write this down”, they’d say as accusations flew and suspicions were highlighted. The accused maintain their innocence. The accusers won’t budge.

Many of the victims are bitter at what they perceive to be shoddy police investigation which has yielded no results, and the longer it takes, the less likely it is that Hale will ever be found.

Refresh your memory

• HALE operated from 296 Bulwer Street at MJCM brokers before he skipped with the cash in July 2009.

He left the country on July 9, supposedly for a holiday in the United Kingdom. Dozens of people reported at the time that they had made investments totalling many millions with him. He also allegedly cleaned out the company accounts. He never returned, and clients never got the interest payout they were expecting that month. Signed cheques for staff salaries bounced. Client files had disappeared.

• He once claimed to have swum across the English Channel with the loot from Britain’s so-called Great Train Robbery.

• He was also said to have served in the Rhodesian Army after he left Britain.

• Hale’s disappearance made news beyond Pietermaritzburg, with the Birmingham Mail and The Times of London running stories about his flight.

• He lived and worked in the city for over 30 years.

The Help me find Mike Hale Facebook page now has 880 members.

The Psychologist

A PSYCHOLOGIST who wishes to remain anonymous gave his assessment of Hale.

“He appears to demonstrate some typical traits of antisocial personality disorder, formerly known as psychopathy. But he appears to be far too calculating and methodical to be diagnosed as a regular psychopath. Individuals with antisocial personality traits often demonstrate a capacity for considerable charm, but their connections with and attachments to others are usually very shallow. Hale’s ability to leave his wife of 16 years and to knowingly leave so many elderly investors destitute demonstrates the hallmark of antisocial personality disorder, namely a lack of remorse or conscience for his behaviour. His apparent absence of any kind of compassion, guilt or restraint in his plunderings demonstrates that his emotional connections to others, including his wife, were probably paper thin.

“As a rule, however, psychopaths are impulsive and uncalculating, leading them to trip themselves up many times before they are brought to book. Hale’s apparently clean record prior to his flight and his relatively high profile as a sportsman suggest that he is an unusually calculating and self-controlled individual — perhaps more aptly described as a really clever crook than a prototypical, impulsive psychopath.

“Clues from his early life that might help to explain some of his behaviour include suggestions that he may have had a relatively unaffirming relationship with his father, a distant relationship with his sister and a generally low level of attachment to others in his childhood world. This allowed him more easily to regard others as objects for personal use.”

A victim

A VICTIM of Hale’s, a widowed 67-year-old nurse, told The Witness that she had lost over R1,5 million. She said she would have been able to retire comfortably if he had not stolen her life’s savings.

The nurse, who now lives in Margate, asked not to be named. She said she had met Hale 33 years ago, after her husband died. “I took my first policy with Mike when he worked at Old Mutual. He seemed nice. Then when he went on his own, I went with him.” She said she had shares, her house money and all her investments with him.

“I want to get this bastard now. Because of him I am still working. He has destroyed me. I would be retired with a good income. He’s taken my money, but he won’t take my life,” she said, although admitting that at times she has experienced enormous despair. “I am 67. I don’t know how much longer I can work. I wanted to leave my money to my son, but now Mike Hale has it.”

She said she wanted to get Hale put onto a Crimestop programme in the UK, but they required a letter from police here in order to do that. She is awaiting the letter from the investigating officer.

The woman said she is lucky to have a friend she is able to live with for now, but if something happens to him, she will not be able to support herself.


A bad man

ONE close source alleged that he discovered Hale’s true colours after a ­woman agreed to allow her house to be sold, and for Hale to invest the money if good homes were found for her beloved dogs. “He told her he had found a farm for her dogs to be rehomed to, and that they would be happy there. His personal assistant picked up the dogs, and instead took them straight to the SPCA. It was a total lie.”

The source described Hale as “stingy”, although he had a lot of money. “He had no conscience.”


The Wife

HALE’S wife Charma (61) says she too is desperate to locate him.

“I know nothing. It’s terrible. Terrible.” Struggling now to make ends meet, Charma says she has applied for 30 to 40 jobs in Pretoria where she relocated to, but without success. “I am so depressed and very, very lonely. There is nothing certain in my life. I can’t sleep. I weigh 48 kilograms now and I look like a skeleton. I can’t eat.”

Charma said that if Hale were found now, she does not know if he would have the money to pay anyone back.

“I don’t go on the Find Mike Hale Facebook site anymore. It’s happened. It’s over. But I am sure he was not the only one involved.”

She said her advocate brother is searching for Hale to help her divorce him. “We have to get a physical address, but he could be anywhere. Someone must know. Someone must be protecting him, but I don’t know who.”

She said she has had calls from a woman who calls herself Sally from overseas, who will not provide her real name. “She knows everything. I don’t know if she’s had an affair with him or if she wants to see justice done.” Charma said the woman said she runs checks on Hale’s name every few months but nothing had shown up.

She previously worked as a lecturer at Indumiso College, lecturing in Afrikaans. “Mike forced me to take a package for him to invest. I do translations now or even au pairing, anything to earn an income.”

Asked what her reaction would be if she had to open the door one day and find Hale there, she replied: “I would want them to take him away and lock him up and throw away the key. He has no conscience. I was married to him for 16 years. What do you say? It would make no difference.”

Charma is disillusioned with police work into Hale’s case, which she says had glaring holes in it, including that the computers at Hale’s business were never seized. Police refuted this and said that computers were seized, and information was downloaded before they were returned to the company Hale had leased them from.

Charma also believes that Hale did not act alone. “ If he took R56 million as it’s alleged on the Facebook site, then why did he bother to take my jewellery and my father’s gold coins worth between R200 000 and R300 000?” She believes someone must have helped Hale. She said he is a luddite who was not able to use a computer.

“He destroyed everything I strived to achieve and collected throughout my life. I had to sell everything I had, even collectibles and furniture I inherited from my mother. He stole my inheritance from my father. He took all the money I had invested in policies. He stole my pension and my life savings. He even stole the money I had in my cheque account.

“I lost the roof over my head — I lost my home. I spent the last 14 years lovingly restoring that house and garden — and never knew he was doing it with my money and that I was going to lose it all.”

“I also lost who I am. Psychologically I am a wreck. I suffer from severe depression and insomnia, and am on chronic medication. Socially I’m a wreck, and find it very difficult to make friends — by the way I have made none. I tend to stay at home and live in isolation from the outside world. I have lost my life, my past, my present and my future. I live in this haze and sometimes consider ending it all.”


The cops

LOCAL police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said that late last year Hale’s photograph and a warrant for his arrest was issued and forwarded to Interpol to establish his whereabouts.

“It is believed that Hale would act as a financial broker and would swindle people into investing large amounts of money with him over a short and long-term period. He would then promise them that they would get a substantial amount of interest on their investment. It is alleged that for the first couple of months he would pay them out a portion of their money, and thereafter disappeared with the rest.”

When asked to comment on allegations that police were not giving the case the attention it was felt it deserved, Jeevan commented: “This office will not be able to comment on or entertain scandal.”


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