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Jeremy Thorpe
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Politician
    (April 29, 1929-December 4, 2014)
    Born in Surrey, England, United Kingdom
    Birth name was John Jeremy Thorpe
    MP for North Devon (1959-79)
    Leader of the Liberal Party (1967-76)
    Charged, with three others, of conspiring to murder Norman Scott (1979)
    Scott claimed to have had an affair with Thorpe in the early 60s when homosexual acts were illegal in Britain
    Acquitted (June 22, 1979)
    He was rejected as best man at the wedding of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones due to rumors about his sexuality (1960).
    He denied being intimate with Scott, but letters surfaced in which he addressed Scott by the pet name 'Bunnies.'
    He used Liberal Party funds to pay blackmail to Scott.
    He also allegedly used party funds to pay gunman Andrew Newton, who failed to shoot Scott, but did kill his pet Great Dane, Rinka (October 23, 1975).
    Many observers felt his acquittal was secured by a biased summation by the judge, who openly attacked the character of the prosecution witnesses.
    Two years after the trial, co-defendant David Holmes told 'The News of the World' that Thorpe had plotted to have Scott killed.
    He was an electrifying campaigner, who would vault over road barriers to mingle with the crowds.
    He was a dapper dresser, with a fondness for Edwardian suits and silk waistcoats.
    He was an outspoken opponent of apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia.
    He consistently denied doing anything worse than discussing possible ways of frightening Scott into silence.
    One of the main prosecution witnesses, former Liberal MP Peter Bessell, had signed a contract with 'The Sunday Telegraph' that would pay him £25,000 for his story if Thorpe was acquitted and £50,000 if Thorpe was convicted.
    Shortly after the trial ended, he discovered that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Credit: C. Fishel


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