`Headless man' in fight for secrecy

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The Independent Online
IT WAS the most sensational divorce of the century but the man at the centre of the case has managed to keep his identity secret for more than 30 years. Now the man said to be the "headless man" who featured in the scandalous photographs used as evidence of the Duchess of Argyll's infidelity, is taking legal action to maintain his anonymity. He has written to the author of a forthcoming book about the divorce of 1963, denying he was the man in the pictures.

During the hearing the 11th Duke of Argyll named 88 men who he claimed had had affairs with his wife and submitted two photographs of her with a lover. He became known as the "headless man" as his head was cut out of the pictures, but what was visible was the Duchess, wearing only pearls, performing a sex act on him.

The Duke believed the man was a cabinet minister but the late Lord Denning proved that, although the minister was one of her lovers, he was not the man in the picture. He carried out his own investigation and revealed the identity of the man to Michael Thornton, the author of the book. Right up until his death last week, Lord Denning was anxious for the man's name to be made public.

Now in his late 80s or early 90s, the man has contacted Mr Thornton and threatened to take him to court. "He has denied it and consistently denies it but I am sorry to say that I have found otherwise," said Mr Thornton.