You risked life of my unborn child, Tommy Sheridan tells newspaper editor

Tommy Sheridan broke down in court as he questioned a witness in his perjury trial over the impact allegations about his sex life had had on his pregnant wife.

The former MSP accused the editor of the Scottish News of the World of putting the life of his unborn child at risk by printing allegations that he had had an affair.

The judge called for a short adjournment after Sheridan became emotional while referring to his wife Gail during exchanges with Bob Bird.

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The politician said a story printed in November 2004, alleging he had enjoyed "kinky four-in-a-bed orgies" with Fiona McGuire was "tripe" but had inflicted "emotional pain" on his pregnant wife.

Sheridan and his wife, both 46, deny lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

The action followed the newspaper's claims he was an adulterer who visited swingers' clubs. Sheridan won 200,000 in damages after the newspaper printed the allegations about his private life.

The trial, at the High Court in Glasgow, previously heard Ms McGuire had been admitted to hospital after she took an overdose following publication of the story. Sheridan suggested that was caused by News of the World journalists pressuring her into discussing the alleged affair.

The former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) MSP accused Mr Bird of failing to secure enough evidence to prove the story was true. He said: "You didn't have a single call, you didn't have a single text message, you didn't have a specific date connecting me with a woman who you described as totally barking, isn't that the case, Mr Bird?"

Mr Bird replied that he had believed Ms McGuire's allegations were "substantially true".

Sheridan's voice seemed to crack with emotion as he said: "I'll tell you what you did know, Mr Bird. You knew I was married to a stunning woman who I had known from the age of 13.

"You did know I was married to Gail and that I had been married to her for four years.

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"Your newspaper covered the wedding - you knew at the time that you were splashing with this five-page exclusive that she was expecting her first child at the age of 40, didn't you?

"You knew she was only eight weeks pregnant and at a very sensitive stage in her pregnancy.

"Did you have no sense of responsibility to the health of my pregnant wife and the emotional pain you were putting her through? You were prepared not only to risk the life of my unborn child to get your story, but also the life of Fiona McGuire, who was driven to try and commit suicide.

"You couldn't care less about the lack of proof because you were blinded by your desire to bring me down and get your front-page exclusive."

Mr Bird replied: "I think you were the one causing the emotional pain, putting her through all sorts of things behind her back.You shouldn't have done that then."

Mr Bird also said it was his understanding that Ms McGuire's suicide attempt had been motivated by pressure from the SSP not to talk about the affair, rather than being hounded by News of the World journalists.

He said: "It's not our fault that you had been unfaithful. If she had an affair with you, then she had a dark secret. What better way than to release the pressure by getting it into the open.

"I still believe it was substantially true."

The indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into subsections.

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It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action of 21 July, 2006. He also denies a charge of attempting to persuade a witness to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day trial got under way.

Mrs Sheridan denies making false statements on July 31, 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial.

The trial continues.