Jeremy Thorpe scandal: Police to reopen case into attempted murder of politician’s ex-lover

An investigation into the attempted murder of former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe’s male ex-lover will be reopened, after police admitted the suspect might not be dead.

A previous 2015 case into the alleged attempted murder of Norman Scott – currently the subject a BBC drama A Very English Scandal, starring Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant – was shut in 2017.

The latest revelations in the saga came to light following a BBC Four documentary The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal.

Gwent Police had believed that Andrew Newton, who shot Scott’s dog and said he was paid to kill the former model, but now think he could still be at large, reports the BBC.

The police force told the makers of the programme: “Inquiries were completed which indicated Mr Newton was deceased.

“We have now revisited these inquiries and have identified information, which indicates that Mr Newton may still be alive.

“As a result, further inquiries will be conducted to trace Mr Newton to assess if he is able to assist the investigation.”

Thorpe, who died in 2014 aged 85,  was elected leader of the Liberals in 1967, promising to turn the party into a radical pioneering force.

Hugh Grant as Jeremt Thorpe in the BBC’s ‘A Very English Scandal.’ (BBC and Blueprint Television)

But his political career ended a decade later when an acquaintance, Norman Scott, claimed to have had a love affair with Thorpe in the early 1960s, at a time when male same-sex activity was illegal in Britain.

Thorpe resigned as leader in 1976, and was later charged with conspiring to murder Scott. He was acquitted of the charges in 1979 due to lack of evidence, shortly after losing his seat in the general election.

Scott, 78, has told the BBC that he believed police had been “continuing the cover up.”

Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott

Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott (Blueprint Television Ltd – Photographer/Kieron McCarron

He said: “I just don’t think anyone’s tried hard enough to look for him. I really don’t.

“I thought [Gwent Police] were doing something at last and soon found out that absolutely they weren’t, they were continuing the cover up as far as I can see.”

Fresh allegations were made over the attempted murder in 2014, after a former criminal stepped forward to say that he was offered £13,500 to carry out the killing. 

Ex-criminal Dennis Meighan said he had been hired as the hit-man originally, but that he got cold feet – and passed the gun to Andrew Newton, who famously shot Mr Scott’s dog, Rinka. Scott was unharmed in the incident.