An investigation into allegations the former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe tried to have his gay lover killed is to be reopened by police after it emerged the would-be assassin may still be alive.
Police launched a new inquiry in 2015 into the attempted murder of Norman Scott but abandoned it last year after concluding Anthony Newton, an airline pilot allegedly hired to carry out the killing, was dead.
The force now says that information has come to light which suggests Newton – who shot Mr Scott’s dog, and claimed he was paid to kill him – may still be alive.
Gwent police said: “Enquiries were completed which indicated Mr Newton was deceased. We have now revisited these enquiries and have identified information, which indicates that Mr Newton may still be alive.
“As a result, further enquiries will be conducted to trace Mr Newton to assess if he is able to assist the investigation.”
The re-opening of an investigation into the attempted murder of Scott raises the prospect that someone may yet be convicted for their part in what was one of the biggest political scandals of the post-war years.
Following a sensational trial in 1979 Thorpe was acquitted along with three other defendants of conspiracy to murder Mr Scott, with whom he had a gay relationship in the early sixties, when it was still a criminal offence.
Newton, who claimed as a prosecution witness at Thorpe’s Old Bailey trial that he had been hired as a hit-man, served two years in prison for shooting dead Mr Scott’s dog Rinka during the bungled assassination attempt on Dartmoor.
Although Gwent police initially believed him to be dead, it has now emerged that Newton has been living in the west london suburb of Chiswick, where residents yesterday described him as an “odd” character who was sometimes seen taking a dog for a walk.
One neighbour told The Telegraph: “He certainly mentioned that he was involved in the Thorpe scandal at some point. I was pretty shocked.”
The neighbour added that Newton, who lived in Chiswick under the name Hann Redwin – a name he is known to have adopted several years ago – appeared to be concerned about crime in the area and at one stage put a CCTV camera up outside his home.
“He would be out painting the outside of the house on a tall ladder with nothing on other than skimpy briefs,” said the neighbour.
Newton also spent hours tinkering with parts of a plane he was building in his kitchen and shed.
Although he sold his home in the smart Bedford Park neighbourhood two years ago Newton is understood to still be living in the area and has recently been spotted in the local Sainsbury’s.
Gwent police had originally opened their investigation after receiving claims that police officers altered the evidence of another person who said that he had been the first to be hired to kill Mr Scott, before Newton was recruited to the alleged plot.
In 2014 Dennis Meighan claimed to the veteran BBC reporter Tom Mangold that he was approached by associates of Thorpe to carry out the murder, but pulled out after losing his nerve.
After detectives concluded that Newton was no longer alive the Crown Prosecution Service told Mr Scott in February last year that no further action would be taken.
The revelations follow the BBC’s current dramatisation of the scandal, starring Hugh Grant as Thorpe. Mr Scott, now aged 78, remains convinced an establishment cover-up into his attempted murder has continued to infect attempts to get to the truth.
He told the BBC: “I just don’t think anyone’s tried hard enough to look for him [Newton]. I really don’t. There must be people who know him. There would be a record of him dying.
“I thought they [Gwent police] were doing something at last, but soon found out that absolutely they weren’t, they were continuing the cover up as far as I can see.”
Mr Scott added: “It’s not suitable. There’s obviously a lot of skullduggery going on.”
Gwent police opened their 2015 investigation after claims that officers altered evidence that Mr Meighan was originally hired to kill Mr Scott were unearthed by the BBC Panorama journalist Tom Mangold in 2014, the year Mr Thorpe died.
Mr Meighan, a small time south London criminal and gun dealer said he was hired to kill Mr Scott following a meeting in a Shepherds Bush café called The Ritz in 1975 with a man believed to have been David Holmes, Thorpe’s best man, and Mr Newton.
He said he had been offered the equivalent today of £140,000 to drive down to Devon where Scott lived, and kill him.
Meighan says he lost his nerve at the last moment, drove back to London and gave the gun, a Mauser, to Newton.
It was at this point that Mr Newton, who had been recruited by two middlemen working for Holmes, then drove to Devon, picked up Scott and his Great Dane Rinka, and shot the dog. When he tried to murder Scott the gun jammed.
After Newton was arrested and subsequently jailed for firearms offences, Meighan says he made a full statement to Scotland Yard detectives about the `Ritz Conspiracy’ meeting.
He told Mangold, however, that he subsequently signed a new police statement which made no mention of Thorpe, the Ritz Conspiracy meeting, or his own criminal offence in possessing and supplying a firearm.
As a result vital evidence which might well have led to Thorpe’s conviction was never revealed.
In a further bizarre twist, Meighan raised his allegations after bumping into Mangold while the reporter was walking his dog in a west London park.
As part of a new investigation into the affair the BBC will on Sunday broadcast footage from a 1979 edition of Panorama that was never shown for legal reasons, following the acquittal of Thorpe and his three co-defendants.
The corporation’s director general at the time kept a master copy of the programme, but ordered all other copies to be destroyed. Mr Mangold, however, kept his copy of the repor
The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal will air after the end of the dramatisation A Very British Scandal, which stars Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/02/new-investigation-claims-jeremy-thorpe-case-hit-man-still-alive/