Friday 23 February 2018

Vicky Pryce gave Chris Huhne black eye after affair aroused gay suspicions, court told

Constance Briscoe, a barrister and part-time judge, arrives at Southwark Crown Court charged with perverting the course of public justice on January 20, 2014 in London, England. Ms Briscoe is accused of providing two inaccurate statements to police and altering a police witness statement, which were used in the trial of Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Gordon Rayner

Vicky Pryce punched Chris Huhne and gave him a black eye when he left her for a bisexual aide she described as “a man”, a court has heard.

The economist “dragged him through a window” and “landed a few good punches” as she raged against her husband’s betrayal, it was claimed.

She felt the reason the former Liberal Democrat energy secretary had left her was that he was a closet homosexual and “had been engaging in that activity again”.

The claims were made during the trial of Constance Briscoe, the barrister who became one of Britain’s first black female judges. She is accused of perverting the course of justice after acting as an intermediary between Pryce and two newspapers that wanted to interview her.

Giving evidence in her defence, Miss Briscoe, a neighbour of the couple, was asked about the fallout following their separation in 2010, when Huhne left his wife for his bisexual publicist, Carina Trimingham. She recalled an incident known to neighbours in Clapham, south London, as the “double punch-up eye make-up episode”.

She told Southwark Crown Court in London: “Chris had come back to the crescent to see Vicky. She had punched him and blacked his eye.

“She dragged him through a window, she punched him a few times in the eye. We [the neighbours] all saw it. When Chris had driven round to go back out, she had punched him again.”

She added that photographers had been tipped off that Huhne may have worn make-up to cover his injuries.

Pryce asked Miss Briscoe to act as a go-between in tipping off newspapers about how she had taken speeding points for Huhne in 2003, for which they were both eventually jailed, as well as more personal details.

“She felt extremely bitter about the marriage breaking up and she felt that the reason why the marriage had broken up was because of Chris and — can I say? — his sexuality,” Miss Briscoe said.

“She believed that the reason why the marriage had broken down was because Chris, her husband, had been engaging in that activity again. Vicky’s attitude was she had taken her eye off the ball because Miss Trimingham herself was a lesbian and married to another woman.

“Vicky’s attitude was that Chris had run off with a man [Miss Trimingham] and that explained everything. Chris is what he is — people don’t choose their sexuality.” Miss Briscoe also said Pryce told her that Huhne had relationships with men before they were married.

She said Pryce also told her that Huhne illegally transferred speeding points to another driver on two other occasions.

Miss Briscoe, 56, agreed to act as an intermediary because she thought Huhne “was monitoring her communications”. She also thought it would “lower her reputation” if people knew Pryce was tipping off the press and “her children would think less of her”.

Miss Briscoe is alleged to have provided police investigating the speeding points swap with two inaccurate statements about her role as an intermediary, produced an altered copy of a statement and got a document expert to view the wrong version of the statement.

She denies three counts of perverting the course of justice. The trial continues.

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