At 2:34pm on Friday 22 June 1979, the jurors in what had been billed as "The Trial of the Century" filed into Number One Court at the Old Bailey to deliver the verdict on the Rt Hon Jeremy Thorpe, Privy Counsellor, the former MP for North Devon and ex-leader of the Liberal Party. For 30 days, the nine men and three women of the jury had listened, opened-mouthed, like the rest of the country and many millions abroad, as prosecution lawyers tried to prove that Thorpe and three other men had recruited an airline pilot called Andrew Newton to kill Norman Scott, a former male model who claimed that he had once been Thorpe's lover. It had been an extraordinary trial. The star witnesses were Scott, Peter Bessell, a former Liberal MP and failed businessman who had once been Thorpe's confidant, and Newton, who had shot Scott's dog, a Great Dane bitch called Rinka, but failed to murder Scott as ordered. Mr Justice Cantley, the judge, was not impressd with these witnesses and made it clear that, if there was any justice, they should have been in the dock.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC