Girls! Swingers! Three-in-a-bed! The bizarre trial of Tommy Sheridan

The former Scottish Socialist leader's court case has contained some salacious revelations, writes Andy McSmith

What a week it has been in the High Court in Glasgow.

Three-in-a-bed sex, one woman and four men in a side room off a swingers' bar, three women and six men in a nearby house, not to mention a walk through the snow to a tanning parlour. Tommy Sheridan – one of Scotland's most controversial politicians – and his wife Gail are accused of perjury during a 2006 libel case in which he won £200,000 damages from the News of the World. They deny the charges and Sheridan stands by his claim that all the sex stories are lies. Having sacked his barristers, he is defending himself – and the results have veered between farce and high drama.


The week began with a literary reference. Svengali was a character from an anti-semitic Victorian potboiler written by Gerald du Maurier, a hypnotist who took control of the mind of a woman named Trilby. In the modern version of the drama, there is not one Trilby, but four, all members of the Scottish Socialist Party, whom Sheridan will be calling to the stand to counter what he claims are the lies told by other former comrades.

One of those he accuses of lying is 51-year-old Colin Fox, his successor as leader of the SSP. Mr Sheridan asked Mr Fox if he knew these four "good, honest socialists".

Mr Fox agreed that they were good, honest socialists, but had fallen under Sheridan's "Svengali-type" influence. He added: "It doesn't make a blind bit of sense, their evidence... they are guilty of nothing but being loyal to you."

Sheridan also cross-examined another former party colleague, Rosie Kane, who said: "Your ego was on the rampage. I saw a side of you I never knew existed and I see it again here today. You were on a course of destruction. You were a kamikaze then and you still are.

"I'm disgusted that your wife is in this situation. You should have protected her."


It was a day when the jury would have had to pay close attention to keep up with who was alleged to have had sexual intercourse with whom, and where. Katrine Trolle, a 36-year-old Danish national, alleged that her first tryst with Sheridan took place in the bedroom of his house next to a photo of his wedding. It was cut short when Gail Sheridan telephoned.

The next location was the house of his now brother-in-law Andy McFarlane where she and the two men "spent most of the night having sexual intercourse." Next it was a twosome in Tommy Sheridan's office in the City Chambers.

Then there was a visit to Cupids swingers' club in Manchester, where Troll was disappointed by the "minging décor – old carpets, dingy lighting" and felt like an "absolute idiot", but nonetheless went into a side room with Sheridan and three other men, where "all of us" had sex. Afterwards, they were joined by two couples and went to a house in Manchester, where "we all had sex with various partners".

Paul McBride QC, defending Gail Sheridan, asked Trolle if she understood the ordeal to which she was subjecting Mrs Sheridan by testifying that "you had sex with her husband, without her knowledge, in her own house, in her own bed?" Trolle replied that she did. After that exchange, the hearing was suspended as Gail Sheridan appeared to break down.


As Tommy Sheridan cross examined the Dane, a question came up about where he had obtained his artificial sun tan – at home or in a tanning salon.

"The beauty of fiction is that you can chop and change detail as much as you like, as it doesn't really matter what the fiction is... it's still fiction. The truth is that you were never at my house," he told Trolle. She had testified to seeing a sunbed in the house. He produced an entry in his wife's diary showing that they walked through the snow to go to a tanning session. "Offer me a reasonable explanation why I would walk for a sunbed, if I had one in the house," he challenged her. She replied: "Diary might be made up. I don't know. Maybe the sunbed was not working."

He also accused her of inventing the stories about the visit to the swingers' club and the liaison in the City Chambers, which she had not mentioned before.

"Are you saying it now because you know it will make good headlines?" he demanded. She replied: "It probably does, but I want to avoid headlines at all costs."


On the witness stand again, Trolle came out with a confession: "You can call me guilty of getting my facts wrong; of being naive and silly," she said. "I'm guilty of thinking you had charisma and I'm guilty of having sex with you. Yes, I'm guilty of all these things, but I'm not guilty of lying in court."

In sharp exchanges, Sheridan accused her of being a "conscious liar" and suggested that she worked with the News of the World to make up stories against him and that she had been "coached" by the police – all of which she denied. He also accused her of collaborating with a witness – Allison Kane – who had given evidence the previous week, during which she had told the court she had heard Sheridan admit to visiting Cupids.

"If Allison Kane and others wanted you to support their plot to bring me down, even including lying in court, would you support them?" he asked. She replied that Kane was a good friend, but she would never "lie in court for her".

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album