We have a great video today, featuring the late Peter Cook, of Beyond the Fringe and other estimable British comedy shows. It is timely today, as Inspector Knacker of the Yard has just announced that the murder plot which is the subject of Mr Cook's monologue is about to be investigated again, after a hiatus of a mere half century or so -- a tribute to the ineptitude ["persistence", shurely! Ed.] of British policing.
Let me set this up for you.
The gentleman -- absolutely the right word -- at the centre of the picture, and of a very English scandal, is the Hon. Jeremy Thorpe, since deceased. Mr Thorpe was at all material times (the hippy-dippy 60s) the leader of the Liberal Party, since folded into the moribund Liberal Democratic Party. The gentleman (?) at the left is Norman Scott, who was alleged to be Mr Thorpe's homosexual lover, this at a time when proper British society didn't ask and didn't tell. In fact, at that time, homosexual acts were still criminal offences in the United Kingdom
The gentleman at the right is Andrew Newton, who was convicted of killing Mr Scott's wee dog in what (Mr Newton alleged) was actually a plot to kill Mr Scott himself. The plot was allegedly masterminded by Mr Thorpe, who, as mentioned above, is dead now. He and three others were charged with conspiracy to murder, but were acquitted following a sensational trial at the Old Bailey in 1979. In the video, Peter Cook gives what he imagines to have been the judge's charge to the jury.
Following the acquittal, the British public demanded justice, since no-one other than Mr Newton had been convicted of anything substantial, and a lot of taxpayers' money had been wasted. A while later -- 2015, to be exact -- the BBC produced a documentary in which it claimed that the police had altered the evidence of another person hired to kill Mr Scott. The investigation was duly reopened, but closed again after they concluded that Mr Newton, who was still the key suspect, was as dead as Mr Thorpe.
Mr Scott, who is now 78 but very much alive, told the BBC, "I just don’t think anyone's tried hard enough to look for [Mr Newton]. 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."
Imagine the coppers' embarrassment when they had to annouonce, a few days ago, that they were reopening the case after finding information indicating Mr Newton may still be, errr, as alive as Mr Scott. In a statement to the BBC, they 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."
This may take a while, but do stay tuned, won't you?