Jeremy Thorpe attempted murder investigation reopens after police admit hitman might still be alive

An investigation into the attempted murder of the lover of the former Liberal Party leader, Jeremy Thorpe, has reportedly been reopened after the police admitted they may have incorrectly concluded a key suspect was dead.

Andrew Newton, who was convicted of killing Norman Scott’s dog and claimed he was hired to kill him, may still be alive, Gwent Police told the BBC.

Mr Thorpe was accused of plotting to kill Mr Scott, with whom he had a relationship with in the early 1960s – at a time when homosexual acts were a criminal offence.

Although Mr Thorpe and three others were charged with conspiracy to murder, they were acquitted at a trial at the Old Bailey in 1979. 

Andrew Newton in 1979 (PA)

After claims the police had altered the evidence of another person hired to kill Mr Scott were unearthed by the BBC, Gwent Police reopened their investigation in 2015.

Dennis Meighan said he was the first hitman who was hired to kill Mr Thorpe, and claimed he was hired by associates of Mr Thorpe, along with Mr Newton.

However, the investigation was closed in 2017 after police made the assumption Mr Newton had died.

Mr Scott, who is now 78, told the BBC: “I just don’t think anyone’s tried hard enough to look for him. I really don’t.

“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.”

Norman Scott in 1979 (PA)

But Gwent Police said they were reopening the case after finding information indicating Mr Newton may still be alive.

They told the broadcaster: “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.”

A Very English Scandal trailer 2018

Further revelations about the investigation into the attempted murder will be disclosed in a BBC Four documentary ‘The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal,’ which will be broadcast at 10pm on Sunday after the conclusion of the BBC drama about the affair, ‘A Very English Scandal’.

It will feature footage from a Panorama documentary completed in 1979, which could not be shown for legal reasons after Mr Thorpe was acquitted of conspiracy to murder. 

The documentary also reveals there were as many as five different attempts on Mr Scott’s life, The Times reports.

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