The ex-wife of disgraced former energy secretary Chris Huhne blamed his decision to leave her for a bisexual lover on his previous gay relationships with men, a jury has heard.
Barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe told Southwark Crown Court that Vicky Pryce wanted to reveal to the press, after her husband left her for Carina Trimingham, that he had infected her with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
She also claimed Mr Huhne was left with a black eye after Ms Pryce “dragged him through a window” following the collapse of their marriage in 2010.
Briscoe, 56, is on trial accused of lying to police about how she helped Ms Pryce reveal that she took speeding points for Huhne.
Answering questions from Patrick Gibbs QC, for the defence, Briscoe said: “She wanted to discuss the fact that Chris had relations with men before they got married, and also wanted to discuss how he had infected her with an STD when he was a
European MP, and when she confronted him at the time he said he got it from clean sheets.
“She felt extremely bitter about the marriage break-up and she felt that the reason why the marriage had broken up was because of Chris and, can I say, his sexuality.
“She believed that the reason why the marriage had broken down was because Chris, her husband, had been engaging in that activity again and that was the real reason for the break-up of her marriage.
“She was cross with Miss Trimingham but she was more furious with Chris because he had conducted a campaign on family values at the time he had that affair with Miss Trimingham. Her attitude was that Chris had run off with a man.”
Briscoe said that on one occasion when Mr Huhne visited the family home after the split, Ms Pryce attacked him.
“She dragged him through a window and punched him a few times on the eye. Vicky had given him a few punches and it had landed well and he had to cover it up because he was on the telly all the time.”
The court heard Mr Huhne was attacked again as he tried to leave and was left with two black eyes. Briscoe said she first met the couple after moving in next door to them in Clapham, south London, and that their children played together.
She advised Ms Pryce to go to the press because it would be “good therapy” after her break-up, she told the court. Ms Pryce asked her to contact a journalist to discuss the break-up, the court heard.
“At that point, she thought that Chris had bugged the house and had hacked into her e-mails and was monitoring her communications so she wanted me to contact him on her behalf,” she said.
But the exclusive story evaporated after Mr Huhne contacted Pryce asking her for a reconciliation, the court heard. Briscoe said Pryce told her about Mr Huhne’s speeding points at the time of the incident in 2003 and advised her to “come clean to the relevant authorities”.
“After this, I saw Vicky driving Chris around and assumed that it had been sorted out and he had come clean,” she said. But after the couple split up, Briscoe said she believed it was in the public interest for the speeding points incident to be reported as Mr Huhne had expressed ambitions to become deputy prime minister. “I thought he was a hypocrite,” she told the court.
Reports about the 2003 incident appeared in two Sunday newspapers, leading to a police investigation.
Despite denying the speeding points charges originally, Mr Huhne pleaded guilty in February last year, and Ms Pryce was convicted by a jury the following month. Briscoe, who has been suspended since her arrest in October 2012, denies three counts of intending to pervert the course of public justice.
She is alleged to have provided police with two inaccurate statements about her role as an intermediary between Pryce and reporters, producing an altered copy of a statement and getting a document expert to view the wrong version of the statement.
Originally due to be a prosecution witness at the pair’s trial, she was deemed not to be a reliable or truthful witness after, it is alleged, she intentionally misled the investigation. After her arrest, the barrister told officers she had always admitted speaking to journalist David Dillon, but claimed they had been discussing allegations that Mr Huhne had a “homosexual liaison”.
She told police that a newspaper had dispatched reporters to Strasbourg, where the former Cabinet minister was serving as an MEP, to try to speak with “any men who may have had contact with him”, the jury heard.
The trial continues.