Northern Life talks to The Lady Detective, Rebecca Jane
by Karen Shaw
Immaculate, that’s the first thing that springs to mind when Rebecca Jane strolls into the restaurant. Despite the fact I’d managed to tame my unruly hair, clean my nails and apply lipstick, whilst getting the kids ready for school, this ‘Lady Jane’ puts me to shame. Many of you will be familiar with Rebecca Jane, and many will know her from her countless appearances on TV shows such as Lorraine and Dragon’s Den, and maybe some of you will have used her services in the past… but that would be telling. Rebecca Jane is The Real Lady Detective.
“She and her colleagues have all been through the same thing and care about the people involved”
Married at the tender age of 20, Rebecca Jane admits she was too young. “It seems stupid now and it shouldn’t have happened; I had my suspicions that he was unfaithful when I became pregnant with my first daughter Paris, who’s now six,” she says. “It was at that point that I approached some private investigators; they were all men. This was seven years ago and there were no female agencies. I found them cold and they just thought I was stupid and I felt really embarrassed talking to them, all they could do as ‘um’ and ‘ah’ so I didn’t hire any
of them. I hired my friends instead, who discovered he was cheating and it wasn’t my hormones playing tricks on me.”
“And it was in 2009 then that The Real Lady Detective Agency was born. It seemed a natural thing to do. There was a gap in the market for this kind of service that was affordable, as all the others were extortionately priced. And with us, we care and we want to help people.”
And while I’m sitting there sipping my latte it’s plain to see that Rebecca Jane isn’t the ‘devil incarnate’ as often portrayed in the media. “We all have a level of empathy with them because we’ve been through the same thing…” she says wistfully. It’s all very well spending hour after hour researching and watching someone, but I was curious to discover how close Rebecca Jane and her colleagues break the news to someone when their partner has been cheating?
“By the time they’ve got to us they just want to know so they’re just relieved. Then a couple of days later I’ll get an email saying ‘I’m really upset, I need counselling’ but initially when I break the news to them, they are alright. We’re their last resort. I work closely with charities and can offer free counselling and advice for those in need of it.”
For most people who suspect their partner is cheating, The Real Lady Detective Agency is their last port of call, but I was curious to learn why they don’t just confront their partner and ask them straight out. “Many do,” says Rebecca Jane “but not many tell the truth, some will tell you a portion of the truth – they’ll tell you a portion of truth to make you think if they’re telling the truth about that, then they must be telling the truth about all of it.”
A large portion of their work involves what Rebecca Jane refers to as passive/active honey-trapping.
“It’s our version. We pair them up, not necessarily with a pretty girl but someone who is the same age, same height, similar looks. There’s no physical contact because that would be prostitution. Our honeytrapper will show some interest, will flirt slightly and will aim to get a phone number or an email address, and then they start building up a rapport to determine what their intentions are. It’s consistent over the course of a month and they start revealing
information and details about their lives at home and we start building a kind of emotional relationship.”
Rebecca Jane doesn’t involve herself in the honey-trapping side of the business and I wondered if that was because she is quickly becoming a recognisable face, not ideal when you’re working undercover.
“Honey-trapping is very difficult. I don’t do it, I never have. I don’t agree with it. I’d never have the guts to go over to somebody and start a conversation. But at the end of the day, if the person in question is married they shouldn’t be getting involved with anyone else. Like I say, I hate honey-trapping and I don’t agree with it but I’m a business woman and I appreciate that other people have got a need for it and if people think it can help them, it’s not my place to say it’s wrong. You’ve got to detach yourself, think about it as a business, as a process you’ve got to put together. However, if we’ve worked and worked and not found anything then I’ll tell the client, it’s their time and money. I could just take the money but it’s not worth it. Honesty is always the best policy. I don’t want to rip people off but equally, I can’t say ‘You’re crackers’ and dismiss them.”
While on the subject of marriage, Rebecca Jane’s face lights up when she talks about her police officer husband Ben Dowlers, whom she married recently. “I can’t tell him anything, we don’t talk about what I do. I have to be very morally correct. Ben was my first ever boyfriend, I was obsessed with him for years when I was 13! Apparently he saw me out in Burnley one night when I was 18 and tried to talk to me and I shrugged him off but the thing is, if we’d of got together back then I would have thought he was too nice and wouldn’t have appreciated him so it wasn’t the right time then and now I have so much appreciation for him.”
“Honey-trapping is very difficult. I don’t do it, I never have. I don’t agree with it”
In April 2012 Rebecca Jane was signed to publishers, Harper Collins with her book ‘The Real Lady Detective Agency’. It quickly became a best seller, gaining the attention of TV production companies who bid to televise the book. “A few companies bid for it including the BBC who wanted to turn it into a down-to-earth, downtrodden Northerners thing. But I didn’t feel that was appropriate. I don’t want them turning me into a marriage-wrecking whore, that’s what
they wanted to do with my character to make it more controversial. I don’t want that so I’ve signed a contract with another company that have no intentions of doing that. In a few series time, they aren’t going to be using the book, they will be using their own stories, but people are still going to think it’s me so we had to choose the company that we trusted and they’re great to work with.
“One of our clients is a gentleman who recently sent me an email telling us what to do. My response was ‘You’re not Charlie from Charlie’s Angels, so stop telling me how to do my job.”
And with that Rebecca Jane finishes off her coffee, straightens her skirt says her goodbyes and off she trots, leaving me with no doubt that not only is she a detective, she’s defintely a lady.
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