Vicky Pryce ‘wanted to get revenge’ on Chris Huhne, retrial hears

15:07 25 February 2013

Vicky Pryce. File picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Vicky Pryce. File picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Jurors at the retrial of Vicky Pryce were today urged to “wipe the slate clean” and to ignore anything they knew about the case.

Chris Huhne’s ex-wife, 60, denies perverting the course of justice by taking speeding points for the former energy secretary in 2003.

On the grounds of marital coercion, she claims her former husband forced her to take the points. He has pleaded guilty to the offence and has been warned he could face jail.

Last week a jury failed to reach a verdict in Pryce’s original trial and today a new jury of seven men and five women were told by Mr Justice Sweeney: “Both sides, prosecution and defence, have asked me to deal with the continuing publicity as to the first trial in this case which ended last week in which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

“That happens, sometimes. It is of no relevance whatsoever in this trial at all.

“In this trial the slate, as it were, is wiped clean, and you judge the case afresh based only on the evidence which unfolds before you during the course of the trial.

The court heard that Huhne’s BMW was clocked speeding at 11.23pm on March 12, 2003 as he returned from Stansted airport to London.

He said Huhne nominated his then-wife to take the points so he could avoid losing his licence and the pair had “cheated the system”.

Mr Edis said Pryce, of Crescent Grove, Clapham, south London, claimed a defence of marital coercion, requiring that her husband was present at the time and applied such pressure that she had no real choice.

He said: “She is not married to a lorry driver with five kids who would go hungry if he lost his job or anything of that kind.

“She was not threatened with violence or indeed threatened at all.”

“In 2002/3 Ms Pryce was a woman who had spent her life making important choices both in her own case and even for other people too because she was a very influential person who had had a glittering career as an economist in banking.”

“Tipped her over the edge”

She became chief economic adviser to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2002, earning a six-figure sum - the first woman to be appointed to the post, he said.

“Women such as her have proudly led the struggle for equality with men over decades.

“They have won an equal right to choose what they do and here she is saying that she was unable to choose whether to commit a crime or not because a man, whether her husband or not, was telling her what she had to do.”

Mr Edis said Huhne left Pryce during half-time of a football match in June 2010, confessing to an affair before he was outed by a newspaper, then drafted a press statement and went to the gym.

He said it undoubtedly left her distressed: “But being the person that she is, a strong-minded, strong willed person, it also caused her great anger and in the end led her to want to get revenge.

“And that is why actually we are all here, that’s why she is here, because she wanted to get revenge.”

He said it was after the Liberal Democrat party conference in September 2010, when press coverage of her attendance “tipped her over the edge”, that Pryce tried to reveal the story.

She contacted freelance journalist Andrew Alderson in November 2010, discussing a story - later found to be untrue - about a constituency aide taking points.

But the story was not published, despite efforts, and Pryce gave the story to Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott, Mr Edis said, whom she had met at the Lib Dem conference in September 2010.

“She lit the blue touchpaper and she did that because she wanted to nail Mr Huhne.”

The court heard they also recorded conversations with Huhne in a bid to get “incontrovertible evidence”.

Mr Edis said: “There is no doubt that the end of her marriage was distressing, very upsetting, perhaps even heartbreaking.”

But he said she had “hatched quite a sophisticated plot to destroy his career whilst at the same time in quite a sophisticated way trying to save hers”.

Related articles

Latest Crime news

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Police were called to a robbery in High Street, Barkingside. Picture: Google Street View

Police have launched an investigation after Barkingside Pizza Hut employees were robbed at knifepoint this morning.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Ian Michael Shingler will serve a six-month sentence for child pornography concurrently with a six-year sentence for possessing homemade explosives (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

A Rainham man has been jailed for possession of explosives and child pornography after a bizarre series of events that began when he threatened to shoot himself.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Police cordoning off Leytonstone Underground Station after the attack (Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

A man will go on trial today accused of launching a vicious knife attack on a random stranger at Leystonstone Tube station “for Syria”.

Friday, May 27, 2016
A man in his sixties stabbed in the face 'with a pair of scissors' this morning (Picture: Getty)

Scotland Yard say they have arrested someone after a man was viciously stabbed in the face with a pair of scissors in west London.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Michael Purcell has been jailed for life

A Cricklewood steelworker who murdered his lesbian flatmate showed his hatred of her sexuality by mutilating her genitals it has been revealed today.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Police said men fired shots at a car in Armitage Road in Greenwich (Picture: Street View)

A young man was rushed to hospital last night after he was shot at ‘while in his car’ on a Greenwich street, Scotland Yard said.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport