Former mistress tells court of affair with Archer

Cathy Gordon,Caroline Gammell,Shenai Raif,Pa News
Friday 28 February 2014 02:41

Lord Archer's former personal assistant Andrina Colquhoun today told the Old Bailey that she had a relationship with the novelist in the six years leading up to his appointment as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

On the 15th day of Lord Archer's perjury trial, David Waters QC, prosecuting, asked: "I do not want to pry unnecessarily into your private life and I will restrict my questions in regard to that. May I ask you, did you have a relationship with Lord Archer?"

She replied: "Yes, I did."

The jury heard that Miss Colquhoun married her partner Robert Waddington in 1990 and was addressed by the prosecution by her married name.

Mr Waters asked her: "When did that start (the relationship)?"

Mrs Waddington, aged 48, replied: "At approximately at the end of 1979."

Mr Waters: "When you left (Archer's employment) at the end of 1984 was that still going on?"

She answered: "No, not on the same basis at all. It gradually faded away."

Mr Waters asked if there was any connection between her leaving and the possibility of Lord Archer becoming Tory deputy chairman in 1985.

Mrs Waddington: "Yes there was. The connection was that he thought it was possible that he was in line for a job with the Conservative Party which he always wanted and that it would be better if he tidied up his personal life."

Archer, aged 61, denies four counts of perverting the course of justice, two counts of perjury and one of using a diary as a false instrument.

They relate to his 1987 libel trial, when he was awarded £500,000 damages after denying newspaper allegations that he had slept with a prostitute in September 1986.

Referring to Archer's account of the night he is alleged to have slept with the prostitute, Mrs Waddington told the court that she was on holiday in Greece not dining with the author has he claimed.

Television producer Ted Francis, aged 67, denies one charge of perverting the course of justice.

The jury was told that Mrs Waddington worked for Archer as his personal assistant from October 1982 to November 1984. She said that after leaving his employment she remained in contact with him.

Mr Waters asked Mrs Waddington if she had ever worked for Archer after she left his employment.

She replied: "I did some other work for him, for instance, buying gifts on his behalf."

Counsel asked if Archer had given her presents during this period.

Mrs Waddington replied: "My recollection was that he probably gave me a birthday present or a Christmas present, yes."

Nicholas Purnell QC, for Archer, asked her: "By September 1986, there was no remaining romantic, sexual or anything other than a business relationship between you and Lord Archer at all?"

Mrs Waddington: "I would see Lord Archer from time to time, but my recollection was that the relationship fizzled out, perhaps not completely."

Mrs Waddington denied a long series of accusations made about her affair with Archer by Angela Peppiatt, the woman who succeeded her as personal assistant and the chief prosecution witness.

She agreed with Mr Purnell's suggestion that it was not true that she was Lord Archer's mistress in 1986/87, that she frequently stayed in his flat on Sunday nights and that she hid Mary Archer's photographs.

She denied that Archer had given her expensive presents paid for through Mrs Peppiatt's credit card and paid for holidays abroad. "That's quite untrue," she said.

Asked by Mr Purnell about Mrs Peppiatt's claim that the Archers led "split lives" with him living with Mrs Waddington in London during the week and with his wife in Cambridgeshire at weekends, she replied: "I do not think that was an accurate picture of our relationship."

Shown a long series of purchases worth hundreds of pounds from shops such as Harrods, Jaeger and Chanel during 1987, Mrs Waddington replied: "Nothing to do with me."

Mr Purnell asked her: "The suggestion that Lord Archer was buying you gifts on this scale in 1987, I suggest is ridiculous and nonsensical?"

Mrs Waddington replied: "I do not recall any of these things and I find it highly unlikely."

She said a purchase of an exclusive line of make–up from Harrods in December 1987 may have been a birthday present to her.

But she could not recall being given jewellery from him from a South African jewellers which Mrs Peppiatt had said included a similar package of jewels for Lady Archer.

Asked if she had been Archer's "live–in mistress" during 1987, she said: "No I was not."

She agreed her nickname for Archer was Moon and said he had made the decision to "tidy up his life" when he thought he would be given the Tory post.

Cross–examined by Roy Amlot QC, for Francis, Mrs Waddington said she was not happy about leaving. She said: "At the time I was upset."

She agreed making a statement to police this year saying that her relationship with Archer started at the end of 1979.

There was laughter from the packed courtroom when she replied "I do not remember" when asked how old she was then.

She protested that she felt intimidated by the proceedings, but the judge Mr Justice Potts told her: "You are holding up very well, if you do not mind me saying so."

Mrs Waddington agreed that she worked for Archer between 1982 and 1984 when she left on the understanding that he would be offered the Tory job.

She said: "Our relationship as it had been ended. However, we continued to see each other but on a diminishing basis until 1987."

Mr Amlot asked: "During the course of the relationship, from what he said, were you conscious of any strain between him and Lady Archer?"

She replied: "No."

Mrs Waddington, who said her husband was not in court, said she continued to dine with Archer "from time to time" in 1986.

Asked whether they dined at the Sambuca, the restaurant where the prosecution said Archer led newspapers to believe he was with Mrs Waddington when his false alibi from Francis was exposed, she said: "No, highly unlikely because after 1984 he did not want to be seen with me in a restaurant."

Asked if she had dined with Archer and Francis in a restaurant called the Glasshouse, she said: "No, I do not remember. I do not know the Glasshouse anyway."

When the name of the restaurant was corrected to the Greenhouse, she said she knew it but did not remember dining there with the men.