View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

Spurned ex-wife wanted to ‘out’ Chris Huhne in the Daily Telegraph after he left her for bisexual lover, court told

By Press Association

The ex-wife of shamed former energy secretary Chris Huhne wanted to “out” him as gay in the Daily Telegraph after he left her for a bisexual lover, a court has heard.

Barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe told Southwark Crown Court that Vicky Pryce wanted to reveal to the press, after her husband left her for Carina Trimingham, that he infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.

She also claimed Huhne was left with a black eye after Ms Pryce "dragged him through a window" following the collapse of their marriage in 2010.

Briscoe, 56, is on trial accused of lying to police about how she helped Pryce reveal that she took speeding points for Huhne.

Answering questions from Patrick Gibbs QC, for the defence, Briscoe said: "She wanted to discuss the fact that Chris had relations with men before they got married, and also wanted to discuss how he had infected her with an STD when he was a European MP, and when she confronted him at the time he said he got it from clean sheets.

"She felt extremely bitter about the marriage break-up and she felt that the reason why the marriage had broken up was because of Chris and, can I say, his sexuality.

"She believed that the reason why the marriage had broken down was because Chris, her husband, had been engaging in that activity again and that was the real reason for the break-up of her marriage.

Content from our partners
<a></a>Key ways to futureproof your media career as journalism job cuts bite deep
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them
Mather Economics and InsurAds combine to help publishers boost revenue

"She was cross with Miss Trimingham but she was more furious with Chris because he had conducted a campaign on family values at the time he had that affair with Miss Trimingham.

"Her attitude was that Chris had run off with a man."

Briscoe said that on one occasion when Huhne visited the family home after the split, Pryce attacked him.

"She dragged him through a window and punched him a few times on the eye.

"Vicky had given him a few punches and it had landed well and he had to cover it up because he was on the telly all the time."

The court heard that Huhne was attacked again as he tried to leave and was left with two black eyes.

Briscoe said she first met the couple after moving in next door to them in Clapham, south London, and that their children played together.

She advised Pryce to go to the press because it would be "good therapy" after her break-up, she told the court.

Pryce asked her to contact a journalist who was working at the Telegraph at the time to discuss the break-up, the court heard.

"At that point she thought that Chris had bugged the house and had hacked into her emails and was monitoring her communications so she wanted me to contact him on her behalf," she said.

But the exclusive story evaporated after Huhne contacted Pryce asking her for a reconciliation, the court heard.

Briscoe (pictured above Credit: Reuters) said Pryce told her about Huhne's speeding points at the time of the incident in 2003 and advised her to "come clean to the relevant authorities".

"After this I saw Vicky driving Chris around and assumed that it had been sorted out and he had come clean," she said.

But after the couple split up, Briscoe said she believed it was in the public interest for the speeding points incident to be reported as Mr Huhne had expressed ambitions to become deputy prime minister.

"I thought he was a hypocrite," she told the court.

Reports about the 2003 incident appeared in the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, leading to the police's investigation.

Despite denying the speeding points charges originally, Huhne pleaded guilty in February last year, and Pryce was convicted by a jury the following month.

Briscoe, who has been suspended since her arrest in October 2012, denies three counts of intending to pervert the course of public justice.

She is alleged to have provided police with two inaccurate statements about her role as an intermediary between Pryce and reporters, producing an altered copy of a statement and getting a document expert to view the wrong version of the statement.

Originally due to be a prosecution witness at the pair's trial, she was deemed not to be a reliable or truthful witness after, it is alleged, she intentionally misled the investigation.

After her arrest, the barrister told officers she had always admitted speaking to Mail on Sunday journalist David Dillon, but claimed they had been discussing allegations that Mr Huhne had a "homosexual liaison".

She told police that the Mail on Sunday had dispatched reporters to Strasbourg where the former cabinet minister was serving as an MEP, to try to speak with "any men who may have had contact with him", the jury heard.

The trial continues.


Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network