Former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe was described today by the man prosecuting him as an unusually ambitious politician who was ultimately destroyed by a fatal flaw - his "homosexual tendencies" as a young man.
Summing up the case against Thorpe, who is being tried in the Old Bailey were on charges of inciting and conspiring in an unsuccessful attempt to murder former male model Norman Scott, prosecuting attorney Peter Taylor told the jury of nine men and three women that a tragic end to Thopre's political career was inevitable.
Two facts form the basis of the case against Thorpe, Taylor argued: "Mr. Thorpe in 1961 was a bachelor with homosexual tendencies. He also was a young member of Parliament with the highest and most determined ambitions to get to the top."
An affair with Scott in the early 1960s created a "conflict of these two traits of character" when it later appeared that Scott would reveal the affair and ruin him at the height of Thorpe's success as Liberal Party leader in the mid-1970s, according to the prosecutor.
Taylor reviewed in painstaking detail the case presented during three weeks of prosecution testimony in the Old Bailey's ornate Courtroom 1 against Thorpe and three businessmen accused of conspiring with him to hire former charter airplane pilot Andrew Newton to kill Scott. Newton killed Scott's Great Dane, Rinka, on a desolate south-western England moor in October 1975, but he testified that he could not bring himself to shoot Scott.
Thorpe, who lost his seat in Parliament in last month's election, has pleaded not guilty to both charges against him. He also has denied publicly having a homosexual affair with Scott, although he said in a statement in 1977 that he had a "close and affectionate relationship" with im.
In their own closing statements later this week, defense lawyers for Thorpe and his codefendants are expected to attack the credibility of Scott, Newton and other prosecution witnesses. Many of them admitted lying about facts of the case in the past and selling their stories to newspapers, book publishers and television networks.