Pri­vate Eye on the case

Ju­lia Hart­ley Moore is a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor who runs her own prac­tice in New­mar­ket. She’s also a best-sell­ing au­thor. But it has not been an easy road to suc­cess. Re­porter Emma Whit­taker spoke to her about the chal­lenges she’s faced and what it’s like t

Central Leader - - NEWS -

It’s dif­fi­cult to know where to start Ju­lia Hart­ley Moore’s story.

She’s dyslexic, left school at 14, was a mother of three by the time she was 16, has dealt with di­vorce and faced fi­nan­cial ruin.

But some­how she’s al­ways man­aged to come out on top.

It’s partly a tes­ta­ment to her up­bring­ing by in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive par­ents, she says.

‘‘My mother used to tell me I could do any­thing.’’

By the 1990s her three daugh­ters had reached adult­hood and she headed to Lon­don.

While work­ing in a re­tail job at Har­rods depart­ment store she helped un­cover a staff theft ring.

‘‘I can re­mem­ber one of the top se­cu­rity guards com­ing up to me and say­ing ‘ you’ve got a budding ca­reer as a de­tec­tive’.

‘‘I had wanted to be a po­lice­woman. At 18 I went to see if I could but I was told I was too fem­i­nine.’’

Hart­ley Moore had al­ways felt she had a knack for get­ting to the truth and the Har­rods in­ci­dent helped af­firm her be­lief.

‘‘My hus­band calls me hu­man lie de­tec­tor.

‘‘It’s like sex ap­peal – you can’t cre­ate it, you ei­ther have it or you don’t,’’ she says.

Hart­ley Moore re­turned to New Zealand and launched her pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­pany in 1996.

She started off in­ves­ti­gat­ing sus­pected fraud cases for an in­sur­ance com­pany.

Many of the cases had al­ready been re­viewed by other in­ves­ti­ga­tors but the com­pany still had a hunch some­thing wasn’t right. In most cases she un­cov­ered the truth.


‘‘Some­times it was sim­ple – there might have been an ad­vert for the car in the news­pa­per when the owner had stated it had never been for sale,’’ she says. Her ca­reer path turned heads. She had no for­mal ed­u­ca­tion and wasn’t from a polic­ing back­ground.

But she man­aged to sur­round her­self with people who had the nec­es­sary ex­per­tise, she says.

Hart­ley Moore gained a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing some­thing of an in­fi­delity ex­pert with a talent for sniff­ing out cheat­ing spouses.

‘‘When people saw there was a woman pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor they started com­ing to me with all the emo­tional stuff,’’ she says.

Her com­pany still spe­cialises in in­ves­ti­gat­ing in­fi­delity, but also of­fers a wide range of unique ser­vices for find­ing miss­ing people and deal­ing with ex­tor­tion, fraud and covert cam­era sur­veil­lance.

‘‘It’s true that fact is stranger than fic­tion. I can read a thriller or watch a tele­vi­sion show and think ‘I’ve got bet­ter sto­ries than that’.’’

These days Hart­ley Moore is less hands-on with in­ves­ti­ga­tions and leaves much of the ground­work to her team.

It’s the thought that she’s help­ing oth­ers that keeps her at it, she says.

‘‘It’s a des­per­ate time in people’s lives.

‘‘You’re pro­vid­ing a ser­vice when people are very emo­tion­ally up­set.’’

Hart­ley Moore has also writ­ten a num­ber of books and re­cently re­leased a new edi­tion of her pop­u­lar book In­fi­delity: Ex­plod­ing the Myths.

Pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor: Ju­lia Hart­ley Moore still gets a kick out of find­ing the truth.

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