Oyston 'victim of ministers'

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The Independent Online
Owen Oyston, the multi-millionaire businessman who is accused of rape, told a court yesterday that he was the victim of a long-running conspiracy by two government ministers.

Mr Oyston, chairman of Blackpool Football Club, alleged that Lord Blaker - formerly the Blackpool South MP Peter Blaker - and the ex-sports minister Robert Atkins, MP for South Ribble, had mounted the conspiracy against him and the North West Labour Party.

Mr Oyston, 62, a life-long Labour supporter, told Liverpool Crown Court that he had 48 hours of tape-recordings of conversations between Lord Blaker, Mr Atkins, Blackpool businessman William Harrison, a man named Michael Murrin ,and "a whole range of other senior people in the Conservative Party". Mr Oyston said he had failed to have a civil action against them heard because of a lawyer's mistake. He was now acting through the European Court of Human Rights.

Earlier, a detective told the court - where Mr Oyston denies raping two teenage models - that at the start of an interview in February last year the tycoon claimed his arrest at Claughton Hall, his home near Lancaster, was linked to the conspiracy. It was, Mr Oyston said, only three weeks before his civil case against the politicians was due before the High Court.

He alleged that a "very nasty" campaign had been waged against him for 10 to 12 years. "I am sufficiently cynical in life after these vicious attacks over the years by newspapers and individuals to think there is a connection," he told the officer.

On the eighth day of the rape trial, Mr Oyston said that at one time he was being investigated by the Fraud Squad, the Inland Revenue, the Drugs Squad, the City's regulatory takeover body Imro, international private investigators, the Sunday Times and other newspapers. He told defence counsel Anthony Scrivener, QC, that he had been cleared of wrongdoing. In 1989, he won substantial damages, costs and an apology from the Sunday Times.

Mr Oyston denies two charges of rape and a further charge of indecently assaulting one of the women. The first woman claimed she was forced into sex, aged 18, after being driven to his secluded mansion late at night. The second said she was forced to have oral sex in the back of a car, and then watched Mr Oyston have sex with another woman before joining them and being raped.

Mr Oyston, who divorced his wife Vicky in 1982 and remarried her six years later, said that in between, when he was chief executive of the Miss World group, he had "a lot of girlfriends". He claimed a long-standing sexual relationship with the first woman. "I have never raped anyone. If I had, I would be deeply ashamed. There is absolutely no need for that in life. If I want to have sex, it is not the hardest thing for a man in my position."

The trial continues today.