Sheridan 'shown admitting swingers' club visit'

A man alleged to be Tommy Sheridan admitted visiting a swingers’ club in a video shown to the jury at the former MSP’s perjury trial last week.

In the footage, the man agreed that he visited Cupid’s club with two women with whom it is alleged he had affairs.

He described one of them as “a diamond”.

Sheridan and his wife Gail, both 46, are accused of lying under oath during his successful 2006 defamation action against the News of the World. They deny the allegations against them.

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

The tape played to the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, the fifth day of the trial, showed two men talking in a room in a flat.

Former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Carolyn Leckie was shown the tape and she said the man’s voice was that of her former colleague Sheridan.

The other man was George McNeilage, she said.

She did not know who had made the tape, although McNeilage brought it to the flat where she first watched the video, she said.

Earlier in the trial, witnesses told the jury that Sheridan admitted to an SSP executive committee meeting that he visited a swingers’ club.

On the tape, the man identified as Sheridan is heard discussing a woman who had taken an overdose and was in hospital because she had apparently been harassed by journalists saying she should admit to an affair with Sheridan.

The man says: “Duncan thinks he is doing the honourable thing to save this lassie’s life. Goes to the News of the World and fires in f****** Katrine Trolle’s name.”

The man alleged to be Sheridan then continued: “That’s the lassie from Dundee, right?”

The man said to be McNeilage: “Her that was in Cupid’s with f****** you and f****** Anvar Khan.”

The man said to be Sheridan replied: “Absolutely, absolutely he goes and fires it.”

He went on to describe Trolle as “solid”, saying “She will never admit it.”

He added: “George, she is not interested in money, she is a f****** diamond, she will never admit anything like that, not a f****** problem.”

The seven-page indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into a number of sub-sections.

Sheridan denies lying to the courts during his case, which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who had visited a swingers’

club.

It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action on 21 July, 2006.

One of the charges alleges that he had sexual relationships with Trolle between January 2000 and December 2005 and with Anvar Khan between January 1994 and September 2002 though during the defamation action he said he did not.

He also denies another charge of attempting to persuade a witness, Colin Fox, to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day libel trial got under way.

Gail Sheridan denies making false statements on 31 July, 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

On Friday, Leckie told the court that Sheridan admitted to the emergency meeting of the SSP executive committee on 9 November, 2004 that he had attended a swingers’ club.

She said: “He said that he had been at a sex club in Manchester, that he had been at least twice. That he should not have done it, it was cheap thrills, he was sorry for that, but he wanted the opportunity to defend it. He was pursuing a defamation action.”

She said she was worried about the impact this would have on the party.

“Our whole reputation was based on integrity and Tommy had presented that image very well and we were very concerned that he would be seen as a hypocrite and that the reputation that the SSP had built up to a very high level would be destroyed.”

She said after that the party maintained an “almost tyrannical” silence because, having taken the decision that Sheridan should step down as convener of the party; they did not think it appropriate to comment further.

Leckie, 45, criticised the way Sheridan’s wife had become involved in the affair.

She told the court: “We thought resigning as convener was enough, that it was not our business for us to give that information to anyone else.

“I probably have regrets about that now – particularly I think it’s absolutely disgusting that Tommy has dragged Gail through this.”

When Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, asked Leckie whether she was part of a “political cabal or faction” designed to oust Sheridan, she said that was a “fiction of Tommy’s, a conspiracy theory”.

The court has also heard that the SSP was asked to hand minutes of the 9 November meeting to the courts ahead of the 2006 defamation action, but refused.

As a result, SSP member Alan McCombes was jailed for contempt of court, after which the party handed in the minutes a few days later.

Leckie said there was some discussion about whether to lie in court, and told the jury: “There were some people arguing that we should lie at the defamation action.

‘There was a vote and there were 13 for telling the truth and two people for not telling the truth and one person abstained.”

Cross-examining Leckie, Maggie Scott QC, representing Sheridan, asked: “You didn’t approve of Mr Sheridan going to sex clubs?”

She replied: “The main issue was about protecting the SSP and the strategy that he was determined to pursue.”

Scott: “You had made your mind up?”

Leckie: “No, he should pursue a strategy that was honest.”

Scott asked whether Sheridan was the man in the tape, and Leckie replied: “To the best of my knowledge. It’s not a very clear picture of him physically, it was a glimpse, but it’s definitely his voice.”

Scott told the court that excerpts from the tape had also appeared in the News of the World.

Asked by Scott whether she had asked McNeilage about how the newspaper got the tape, Leckie said she did not want to know anything about that.

The case continues this week.

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