Guilty: Vicky Pryce convicted over Chris Huhne speeding scam

 

Crime Correspondent

The woman who plotted Chris Huhne's downfall was herself facing jail today after a jury found that she was an accomplice in the scam to take her former husband's speeding points for a driving offence ten years ago.

Vicky Pryce, 60, a former senior government economist, claimed that she had been forced into taking the points by the former Energy Secretary after she had been worn down by a campaign of bullying and sustained pressure. But a jury of seven men and five women at Southwark Crown Court today found her guilty after hearing that she had lied repeatedly about her campaign to bring down her husband in an act of revenge over an extra-marital affair.

Pryce, dressed in a grey two-piece business suit, opened her mouth in shock when the jury foreman read out the verdict.

Judge Mr Justice Sweeney granted Pryce bail until sentencing, a date for which has not been set, when he will also sentence Huhne.

He told the economist, as he had told Huhne, to be under no illusion of what sentence to expect.

"Obviously Ms Pryce was present when I indicated to Mr Huhne the inevitable consequences of a conviction for an offence of this sort.

"She must be under no illusions that my granting of bail indicates any watering down of that provisional approach."

He thanked the jury for discharging their task "assiduously" in a case which could not have been easy.

Huhne had been caught by a speed camera on the M11 as he returned from the Strasbourg parliament where he was working as an MEP in March 2003.

He faced a certain driving ban as he would have totted up 12 points. He persuaded his wife to take three of them to avoid embarrassment as he campaigned for the nomination for the Eastleigh parliamentary seat which he saw as his route to Westminster after two failed attempts.

Huhne, 58, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and resigned as the MP for Eastleigh, ending a career which had seen him part of the coalition negotiation team and a one-time tip as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The plot was revealed only after the break-up of the couple's 26-year marriage when Pryce sought to "nail" him after he announced that he was leaving her for an aide, Carina Trimingham.

Emails showed how she negotiated with two newspapers to get the story published about her husband's crime without implicating herself.

She claimed that she told a high-profile barrister and judge, Constance Briscoe, about her husband's offence in 2003 and she was due to be the chief prosecution witness in the case.

But the trial was delayed for months after Ms Briscoe was accused of lying in a police statement. Ms Briscoe was arrested in October and faces possible prosecution for perjury and perverting the course of justice. Briscoe had been working as an intermediary between Pryce and the media, the court heard.

Pryce herself had denied perverting the course of justice citing the ancient defence of "marital coercion" suggesting that they she had no real choice but to do what her husband asked. She told how her former husband - they divorced in early 2012 - stood in the hallway of their home with a pen in his hand and told her to sign the forms naming her as a driver.

Further reading

Lib Dems 'knew Huhne had broken law months before it became public'

The e-mails between Vicky Pryce and Sunday Times reporter Isabel Oakeshott

The campaign by vengeful wife and 'batty' barrister

Trial laid bare strains in Huhne household

The ups and downs of the ultimate power couple

Marital coercion - a defence that faces major change

Debate: Is accepting points, as Vicky Pryce did, par for the course in a loving marriage?

Do you have any sympathy for Vicky Pryce?

Vicky Pryce, Chris Huhne and why this was not a criminal trial, but a divorce case by proxy

Judge praises jury for 'assiduously performing duties' after embarrassment of first trial

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'