5 Feb 2013

Vicky Pryce’s ‘revenge bid’ after news of Huhne affair

Chris Huhne’s ex-wife Vicky Pryce told the press she had taken his speeding points, in a bid to get revenge after he left her for another woman, a court heard today.

Mr Huhne was clocked speeding in March 2003 and asked his then wife to take his points so he could avoid losing his licence.

Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce were both charged last year with perverting the course of justice over the offence and were due to stand trial together.

But the former cabinet minister dramatically changed his plea yesterday, admitting the offence and resigning as an MP.

His ex-wife still denies the charge, saying she was coerced into taking the points and is standing trial alone.

Chris Huhne's ex-wife Vicky Pryce took the former energy secretary's speeding points in a bid to get revenge after he left her for another woman, a court heard today.

‘It was over’

Opening the case at Southwark crown court today, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said the points-swapping only came to light in 2010/2011 when Pryce told several newspapers in a bid to ruin her former husband’s career.

Mr Edis told the jury of eight women and four men: “It became public because Ms Pryce told a newspaper, actually more than one.

“And she told the newspapers because by then, 2010/11, she had learned that Mr Huhne had been having an affair with somebody else and he, Mr Huhne, had told her, in a way which you may learn something about, that he did not want to be with Ms Pryce any more, it was over.”

He said the ending of a long marriage in circumstances like that would undoubtedly be “a cause of immense distress to any wife, or husband come to that”.

“And there is no doubt at all that Ms Pryce was distressed. But there is also no doubt at all that she was not only distressed but extremely angry and she wanted some revenge.

“And her revenge was in the end to pass the story about the 2003 crime to the newspapers so that it would be published in the end, that it would destroy her husband’s career.”

‘Stop telling ridiculous stories’

The jury was played four calls Ms Pryce made to Mr Huhne around April 2011, which were recorded with the help of the Sunday Times in a bid to get some proof for the story.

During the calls, Vicky Pryce tries to get her former husband to admit that she took his points in 2003.

The economist constantly asks Mr Huhne to confirm that she received the points, but he staunchly denies it, advising her not to speak to journalists.

At one point he tells her: “Can I suggest, if you want to stop journalists door-stepping you, you stop telling ridiculous stories to the press.”

She denies having anything to do with it, claiming that someone else was the source of the story.

In several exchanges, Ms Pryce, at times angry and swearing, demands Mr Huhne admit she took his speeding points, with comments like “You know full well that I took your points,” while her ex-husband continually denies it.

He repeatedly warns her not to talk to journalists, and says the story will not appear if they do not “stand it up”.

Vicky Pryce’s trial continues on Thursday.