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'Dead' Thorpe scandal suspect found alive

1967 picture of then Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe. Picture by PA
By Sam Blewett, Press Association

Police who believed a suspect in the Jeremy Thorpe scandal was dead have announced they have found him alive, but will not reopen an investigation.

Gwent Police said on Monday that they located Andrew Newton, the man allegedly hired to kill the former Liberal leader's ex-lover Norman Scott, under the name Hann Redwin.

A spokesman defended the force's initial conclusion that Mr Newton was dead, saying officers had "reasonable grounds" to assume he had died.

Having questioned Mr Newton, the force said he was unable to provide any new evidence and the case would not be reopened or referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

"In conducting its investigation, Gwent Police had reasonable grounds to conclude that Andrew Newton/Hann Redwin was deceased," a force statement said.

"However, recent information obtained by the force indicated that this may not be correct.

"Having confirmed his status and whereabouts, officers from Gwent Police spoke to Mr Redwin who is unable to provide any additional evidence to that which has already been obtained in the original inquiry.

"As Mr Redwin's evidence has already been considered by the CPS prior to this matter being closed, Gwent Police is satisfied that there is no basis to re-refer the matter to the CPS and the investigation remains closed."

The force clarified that at no point was the original investigation re-opened, instead saying the latest questions were relevant to Operation Velum, centring on claims of police corruption.

Mr Scott (78), previously criticised the force, claiming it had not "tried hard enough" to look for Mr Newton.

"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," he told BBC Four documentary The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal.

There was allegedly a plot to murder Mr Scott, who was in a relationship with Mr Thorpe in the early 1960s, when homosexuality was illegal.

Mr Thorpe, who died in 2014, was acquitted of conspiracy to murder after an Old Bailey trial in 1979.

Mr Newton was jailed for two years on charges arising from the shooting of Mr Scott's dog.

He later claimed a "a leading Liberal supporter" paid him £5,000 to kill Mr Scott.

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