2013 - the year in review: Very public justice for Chris Huhne and Nigella Lawson

In the harsh glare of legal inquisition, embarrassing personal failings are among the first things to come out

It is unlikely Chris Huhne and Nigella Lawson will look back on the year with fondness. Neatly bookending 2013, two court cases demonstrated that under the harsh glare of legal inquisition, embarrassing personal failings are among the first things exposed. The guilty are not the only ones to suffer: Mr Huhne was on trial, Lawson was not.

After months of delays, denials and mud-slinging, the former Cabinet minister pleaded guilty in February to giving his then wife, Vicky Pryce, speeding points from 10 years earlier. Pryce claimed she was bullied into it but was also jailed. The case revealed the extent of Mr Huhne’s bitter rift with his son, and how the family had been divided after he walked out for an aide, Carina Trimingham, an affair that the News of the World threatened to expose.

So what was he thinking when the hacking trial reached court? After years of scandal, the closure of the paper, and multi-million pound payouts, two of its former editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson – their own affair made public – appeared with other ex-News International executives. The case is set to run for months.

Mick Philpott also had fame of a sort. He appeared on television, including the Jeremy Kyle Show, to defend his feckless lifestyle. He was jailed for life for manslaughter when he torched his home, killing six children, to get back at the woman who had left him. Mark Bridger was jailed for life for killing April Jones, the five-year-old he snatched from near her home in Machynlleth, Powys. 

Six men were given long jail terms after incompetence and luck led to their arrest after a failed attack on an English Defence League rally in West Yorkshire. They turned up too late, then on their way home were pulled over by police and their car full of weapons was impounded because they had failed to fill out an insurance form properly.

By their actions, they had hoped to spark a war. Two men who claimed that one was already under way went on trial at the end of the year for killing Fusilier Lee Rigby, in Woolwich, southeast London.

Two PAs were put on trial for defrauding their bosses by spending £685,000 on credit cards. Yet it was the conspicuous spending of those bosses – Charles Saatchi and his ex-wife – which became the focus of the case. The two defendants claimed the extravagant spending was part of a tacit agreement not to reveal Lawson’s cocaine use to Mr Saatchi. If that was the intention, it didn’t work.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower