Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Pryce 'confided in eldest daughter'

Vicky Pryce's eldest daughter has said her mother told her that Chris Huhne forced her to take his speeding points
Vicky Pryce's eldest daughter has said her mother told her that Chris Huhne forced her to take his speeding points

Chris Huhne's ex-wife confided in her eldest daughter after he forced her to take his speeding points, a court has heard.

Vicky Pryce's eldest daughter Georgia Beesley said her mother told her in 2003 that Huhne had bullied her into taking the points, claiming if she did not and he lost his licence, then he would lose the election for the Eastleigh seat and it would be her fault.

Mrs Beesley said her mother told her in late spring or early summer 2003, when she was about 25, about Huhne demanding she take the points. She did not live with Pryce and Huhne at the time, but lived nearby and would speak to her mother once or twice a week, she said.

"I remember speaking to my mother and she told me that Chris had been caught speeding and was asking her to take speeding points," she said. "If he had taken the points he would have lost his licence. He was very insistent that she take the points for him."

Pryce is standing trial accused of perverting the course of justice by taking the speeding points in 2003. She denies the charge, saying she was bullied into it by her then-husband.

Giving evidence, her daughter told Southwark Crown Court: "He didn't want to lose his licence, he was standing for election and had to travel regularly to Eastleigh. And he would say to her that if she didn't take them he would not be able to drive, that he would lose his licence, and that it would be her fault if he didn't get elected."

She said her mother was "very upset, very angry", and "obviously didn't want to take the points". Mrs Beesley said she could not remember if her mother asked for advice but said she "definitely told her that she should not take the points".

The court heard in 2011, during the police investigation into the points-swapping, Mrs Beesley had called detectives from Athens to say she did not want to give a statement.

"At that time I didn't want to speak to anyone about what had happened," she said. "We were being hounded by the press and I thought it was all part of the same thing, that everybody wanted to talk to us about what had happened and I just didn't want to do it at that time."

Asked by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC why she originally advised her mother not to take the points, she said: "I was single, I didn't understand the pressures that someone could be under in a marriage. I did not appreciate at that time what it would be like to be living with someone constantly badgering you to do something that you know was wrong and feeling like you don't have a choice."

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