Chris Huhne, Britain's former energy secretary, is
accompanied by his partner Carina Trimingham, as he arrives
to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Disgraced energy minister Chris Huhne has been jailed for
eight months for lying to police about a speeding offence in
2003, in the final chapter of a bizarre tale of adultery and
revenge that has gripped the British public.
Huhne's ex-wife Vicky Pryce, a prominent economist, was also
jailed for eight months for her role in the deception.
Prior to the scandal, Huhne had been seen as a potential
future leader of the Liberal Democrats, junior partners to
the Conservatives in Britain's ruling coalition government.
When his car was caught by a speed camera, he and his wife
falsely told police she had been driving, so that the
minister could avoid a driving ban.
The incident remained a family secret for years but came back
to haunt Huhne after he left Pryce for his mistress, Carina
Trimingham, in 2010. Pryce told two newspapers about the 2003
deception in an act of revenge that landed both Huhne and
herself in the dock.
"Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault," judge
Nigel Sweeney told the pair as he passed sentence on them.
"IMPLACABLE DESIRE FOR REVENGE"
"There is a controlling, manipulative and devious side to
your nature," he told Pryce, saying she had been driven by
"an implacable desire for revenge".
"Despite your high office, Mr Huhne, you tried to lie your
way out of trouble by claiming you were innocent, by
repeating that lie again and again," the judge told the
"You have fallen from a great height."
The estranged pair sat side-by-side in the glass-walled dock
during the lengthy sentencing hearing but did not make
eye-contact. Trimingham sat in the public gallery in the
courtroom packed with journalists.
Dressed in a dark suit and tie, Huhne, 58, stood grim-faced
to hear his sentence. Wearing a black jacket, silver-grey
roll-neck top and dangly earrings, Pryce, 60, appeared to be
fighting back tears throughout the hearing.
The judge told the pair they would serve at least half of
their sentences before being released on parole.
Huhne resigned as energy secretary in February 2012, when he
and Pryce were both charged with perverting the course of
justice. He spent the best part of a year fighting a costly
legal battle, trying to get the charge against him thrown
That attempt failed when Judge Sweeney ruled at the end of
January that he should face trial. Huhne initially pleaded
not guilty, but a week later, on the morning the trial was
due to start, he stunned Britain by changing his plea to
His lawyer, John Kelsey-Fry, told the court Huhne's 11th-hour
guilty plea had taken courage and had avoided what would have
been "a bloodbath" if Huhne and Pryce had stood trial
Instead, Pryce stood trial alone after pleading not guilty.
She admitted taking Huhne's speeding penalty but put forward
an archaic defence of "marital coercion", arguing that Huhne
had bullied her into it.
A first jury failed to agree on a verdict on Pryce, but after
a retrial a second jury convicted her on Thursday.
Pryce's trials revealed painful details of the breakdown of
her 26-year marriage to Huhne.
He became a minister in May 2010, but within weeks a
newspaper found out he was having an affair about which Pryce
had been unaware.
The story was widely covered by the national press, with the
added spice that Trimingham had previously been in a lesbian
Evidence shown at Pryce's trial revealed how, starting in
November 2010, she spent six months plotting with journalists
to try to get the story about the 2003 speeding deception
into the papers in a way that would damage Huhne but not
"I definitely want to nail him," Pryce wrote to one
journalist in a March 2011 email that was read out in court.