Plot existed in Tommy Sheridan's mind, court told

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The Independent Online

A plot to "bring down" former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan "existed mostly in his mind", a court heard today.

The ex-MSP is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow accused of lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World four years ago.

Today the woman who claimed to have a four-year affair with the politician said she had told police Sheridan had telephoned her and said party members were "out to get him".

Katrine Trolle has told the trial she slept with Sheridan on a number of occasions after meeting him on the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) campaign trail in Glasgow in 2000.

Their liaisons, she claimed, included a threesome with Sheridan's brother-in-law, a visit to a swingers' club in Manchester and an orgy involving nine people.

She has also told the trial she had sex with Sheridan in his marital bed and in his Glasgow City Chambers office when he was a councillor.

But Trolle, 36, who has travelled from Denmark to give evidence at the trial, added that she was unable to remember the phone conversation with Sheridan despite reporting it to police.

Of the alleged claims of an SSP plot mentioned in the phone call, she told Sheridan, who is defending himself: "I think it was mostly in your mind."

Sheridan is conducting his own defence after he dismissed Margaret Scott QC, who was previously representing him.

Sheridan and his wife Gail, both 46, are accused of lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

He denies lying to the courts during the trial, which followed the newspaper's claims that he was an adulterer who visited swinger's clubs.

He won £200,000 in damages after the newspapers printed the allegations about his private life.

Sheridan accused Ms Trolle of collaborating with other SSP members, including Allison Kane, who has already given evidence to the trial.

She told the court she heard Sheridan admit he had been to Cupid's club in Manchester on two occasions during an emergency meeting of the party's executive on November 9, 2004.

Ms Trolle said she was good friends with Ms Kane but would never "lie in court for her".

Sheridan said: "If Allison Kane and others wanted you to support their plot to bring me down, even including lying in court, would you support them?"

Ms Trolle replied: "No."

Sheridan also showed the court an article printed by the News of the World on November 14, 2004, with the headline: "Tommy is Finished".

It quoted the party's regional organiser for the north of Scotland, Duncan Rowan.

It read: "Rowan told us: 'Sheridan's finished. People have been lining up for him in the party for f*****g years'."

Ms Trolle said the article implied that Mr Rowan "thought people wanted to do you in.

"But Duncan also thought there was going to be an armed uprising in Scotland for Scottish independence. I wouldn't put too much into this. He saw enemies in his own shadow."

Ms Trolle also told the jury she was left "disappointed and probably also a bit angry" when Sheridan won his action against the News of the World.

The indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into subsections.

It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action of July 21, 2006.

He also denies a charge of attempting to persuade a witness to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day trial got under way.

Mrs Sheridan denies making false statements on July 31, 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial.