Witness 'omitted' telling police he saw Sheridan - Press Gazette

Witness 'omitted' telling police he saw Sheridan

A witness told Tommy Sheridan’s perjury trial today that he had “omitted” to tell police he had seen the politician at a hotel the night before Sheridan’s brother-in-law’s wedding.

Matthew McColl told the High Court in Glasgow that he was “p****d off” with officers when they came to his house at 6.30am and “had no compunction to tell them anything but my name”.

But today he told the trial he had seen Sheridan at the Moathouse Hotel in Glasgow with Andrew McFarlane and four women – Anne Colvin, Helen Allison, Jacqueline White and Beverley Dickson – on June 14, 2002, the night before McFarlane’s wedding. He married Gail Sheridan’s sister Gillian in June 2002.

The former MSP and his wife Gail, both 46, deny lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World newspaper in 2006.

The action followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited swinger’s clubs.

Sheridan won £200,000 in damages after the newspaper printed the allegations about his private life.

The indictment against Sheridan contains the charge that he lied at the action, saying there was no event at the hotel on the night of June 14, 2002.

But McColl, 50, from Glasgow, told the court how he, Sheridan and McFarlane went to the hotel after meeting for drinks in Glasgow city centre.

He said he had invited Dickson and another woman called Jacqueline White to the hotel as well.

The court was told she was an old friend who had flown up from Birmingham because she “fancied” coming to Glasgow for “a night out and some shopping”.

McColl said he had discussed booking a suite of rooms at the hotel with Sheridan and McFarlane so they could continue drinking after the hotel’s bar closed.

He said he initially went to the suite with White, Colvin and Allison but left shortly afterwards to collect his credit card from behind the bar.

He told Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC: “When I returned from the bar the people who were in the suite were Jacqueline White, Helen Allison, Beverley Dixon, Anne Colvin, Tommy Sheridan and Andy McFarlane.”

Prentice asked him: “You omitted to tell the police that Mr Sheridan was at the Moathouse Hotel?”

McColl replied: “Yes. To my recollection Mr Sheridan was at the Moathouse.”

The trial was adjourned for the day after McColl refused to reveal the identity of his girlfriend at the time.

Under cross-examination from Paul McBride QC, McColl was asked: “Did you have a partner? Did you have a girlfriend?”

“Did you go to the wedding the next day with your girlfriend? What was her name?”

McColl replied: “I’m not prepared to give her name in court. Everything said in this court is reportable and I’m not prepared to do it.

“You can ask me until you are blue in the face. I’m not prepared to change my position.”

The trial was briefly halted before the judge sent the jury home for the day.

He said: “Ladies and gentleman, because of the position adopted by this witness in refusing to answer the questions, there are certain steps I am required to take and it is not possible to continue with his evidence at this stage.”

The trial will continue tomorrow morning.