Pryce guilty: Trial laid bare strains in Huhne household


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The Independent Online

The private strains and disputes in the Huhne household were laid bare as the anguish over abortions, adultery and lies were revealed during the trial.

The affair and eventual divorce left the grown-up children of Huhne unwilling to speak to him and led one to change his name, Vicky Pryce said during her two days in the witness box in her first trial.

Ms Pryce told of her own pain at an abortion in 1990 that she said she has since deeply regretted and only took place at the insistence of her husband who claimed that another child would harm his burgeoning political career.

The court heard that she was booked in for a later abortion but on the eve of the operation refused to go ahead with it as she lay next to her husband. The boy, a son, was later born and was loved by her husband. "He's wonderful, it's difficult not to," said Ms Pryce.

Ms Pryce gave the impression - backed up by texts between her youngest son and her ex-husband - of a family ripped apart and divided by news of Huhne's long-term affair with an aide, Carina Trimingham. Ms Pryce had two daughters from her first marriage and after she married Mr Huhne, the couple had two sons and a daughter.

Just before the affair came to light, the family had been canvassing for their father in Eastleigh as he sought re-election to the Hampshire seat. The family appeared in campaign literature in which Mr Huhne was painted as a devoted family man.

However texts obtained by police exchanged between Peter Huhne and his father indicated a father trying to mollify an angry son, who lashed back angrily, telling him he wanted nothing more to do with him.

Peter accuses his father of failing to take responsibility and of failing to protect his mother. "I have no intention of sending Mum to Holloway Prison for three months. Dad," Huhne responded in one of his text messages.

Ms Pryce said that she had not expected the scale of the uproar that followed the revelation that a serving Cabinet minister had broken the law by passing his points to someone close to him.

 "I did not expect it to be as strong and followed up at all to the extent it was," she said. "I was not experienced in that respect. I was not a journalist or a PR person."

"I was so shocked, I went into hiding with one of my children and amazingly, despite it all… we all kept together very very close. I apologised to them straight afterwards and they have been very supportive of me."

Mrs Pryce had two daughters from her first marriage who Huhne treated as his own and walked them both down the aisle when they got married. The eldest, Georgia, gave a statement detailing the pressure that her mother was under at the time she took the points. She later gave evidence for her mother in court at both trials.

Further reading

Vicky Pryce convicted over Chris Huhne speeding points scam

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

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