Private Eye a 'human lie detector'

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Julia Hartley Moore still gets a kick out of finding the truth.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Julia Hartley Moore still gets a kick out of finding the truth.

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

"My husband calls me the 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.

Central Leader