A Statement prosecutor has opened a court case in Minehead in the United Kingdom with some of the most sensational allegations made in a British court this century.
A Statement prosecutor has opened a court case in Minehead in the United Kingdom with some of the most sensational allegations made in a British court this century. It was alleged on Monday (20 November) that former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe had a homosexual affair with a former male model and then plotted to murder him because he was a danger to his career. State Prosecutor Peter Taylor made the allegations before three magistrates who are to decide whether Mr. Thorpe and three other defendants will be sent for trial by judge and jury on charges of conspiring to murder a former male model Mr. Normal Scott.
SYNOPSIS: The small rural court-house in Minehead normally deals with poachers, drunks and careless motorists. But on Monday (20 November) it became the venue for ??? allegations against a major public figure. The defendants arrived separately with their lawyers.
Jeremy Thorpe has consistently denied the charges that he plotted to kill Normal Scot, or that he had a homosexual affair with him.
In 1974, he was leader of the Liberal Party and at the peak of his political career. he has held the same parliamentary seat for nearly twenty years. His comfortable majority was based on a strong personal following.
He was once again returned as the member for North Devon. Since being charged in August this year he has found constituency support for his decision to continue as a member of parliament. But recently he has been seen only rarely in the House of Commons.
The close result of the 1974 General Election brought Mr. Thorpe the prospect of a ministerial post in a coalition with the conservatives. He rejected the proposal and the Labour Party took office.
But Mr. Thorpe's Liberal Party leadership was jeopardised in 1976 with the first reports of the Norman Scott affair. Still protesting his innocence of any impropriety, he resigned his leadership to safeguard the party's standing.
Mr. Normal Scott claims that he had an affair with Mr. Thorpe from 1961 to 1963. It is alleged that he openly talked about it, and that this caused Mr. Thorpe to consider murder. Mr. David Holmes, the former Deputy Treasurer of the Liberal Party, and long-time friend of Jeremy Thorpe, is charged with being part of the plan, which involved hiring an Airline Pilot, Andrew Newton. He lured Mr. Scott onto a bleak and lonely moor where he drew a gun and killed Scott's dog. He threatened to shoot Scott, but did not do so. He was later arrested, convicted and jailed for possessing a firearm with intent to endanger a life. The prosecution said that on his release in 1977 he was paid 5,000 sterling (10,000 dollars), allegedly from funds donated to the Liberal party, to cover election expenses.
A key prosecution witness, former Liberation Member of Parliament, Mr. Peter Bessell, flew to Britain from his California home for the trial. Mr. Thorpe's legal counsel failed in an attempt to remove the immunity granted Mr. Bessell in exchange for his evidence.