Current Affairs

Royal aide shocked by sex and drugs claims

Tony Grew April 17, 2008
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The trial of two men accused of trying to blackmail a member of the Royal family has heard evidence from the victim’s aide.

The woman, known as Witness B, told the court that she received several phone calls over the summer, the first in August, about her employer. In that call a man talked about the Royal, drugs and gay sex.

One caller idenitfied himself as Sean McGuigan.

She told the court she was stunned by the content of the calls.

Ian Strachan, 31, and Sean McGuigan, 41, who live in London, deny blackmailing a member of the Royal family.

Earlier this week the court heard a comparison to another Royal aide, Witness D, and the Are You Being Served character Mr Humphries.

The claim that the Royal, who can not be named due to a court order, took drugs, was made by Ian Strachan as he attempted to sell the story to a tabloid newspaper journalist, the court heard.

Journalist James Weatherup, told the Old Bailey that he didn’t publish the story as the Royal – called Witness A – was “not significant enough.”

Mr Weatherup said the story was about the aide but then “as the story developed we became more interested in A because Ian had said that A took drugs.

“It’s in the tapes. There is an allegation of taking drugs. We’d be interested in proving that A took drugs. We knew that D took drugs because it was on the tape.”

Cross-examined by Jerome Lynch QC, for Mr Strachan on whether the journalist was simply flaming up the story, Mr Weatherup said: “He had delivered what he promised to deliver. He was clearly connected in the social circles and he may have been able to provide stories in the future.

“There was no reason to fall out with him because we didn’t want the story.”

Since The Sunday Times broke the story of alleged blackmail in October there has been widespread speculation as to the identity of the Royal Family member who is the victim of the alleged blackmail.

He has been named on TV in the US and Australia and on numerous websites.

The British press are legally restrained from revealing the identity of the person, though it has been reported that he does not carry out any public duties.

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the alleged blackmail plot, saying only that it is a matter for the police.

Strachan and McGuigan are both pleading not guilty to making demands with menaces, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.

The trial continues.

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