Sources at the News of the World are thought to be delighted by Tommy Sheridan’s response this week to its splash of the taped confession that appears to show he perjured himself in the celebrated libel trial.
Police confirmed that a full perjury investigation would go ahead. The NoW will be handing over the original video tape, for which it paid Sheridan’s best man George McNeilage, as part of the probe. Sheridan is apparently heard on the tape admitting that he visited a swingers club and that he told 19 colleagues he had done so. He denied both points on oath for his £200,000 damages win.
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On Tuesday Sheridan said the tape had been “concocted” and that his voice had been “spliced” with other voices.
It was the “mother of all stitch-ups,” he said, adding that he believed MI5 was involved.
But the NoW team believes that audio and video experts will find it very easy to prove the tape is not the result of splicing or computer fakery. It had the recording analysed by four independent experts — including one in the US — before publication.
A Crown Office spokesman said it was not possible to speculate on the timescale for the investigation.
The spokesman said: “On the basis of information presently available to her, the procurator fiscal at Edinburgh has instructed police to begin a criminal investigation into allegations of perjury.
Lothian and Borders Police will submit a report to the procurator fiscal in due course.” Sheridan has not yet been paid his damages, as the NoW immediately appealed the verdict — a process that could take more than a year.
McNeilage handed over the tape, which he claims he recorded secretly in 2004, shortly after the trial. He said he hadn’t come forward earlier because he believed Sheridan would lose his action.