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Norman Josiffe (born 12 February 1940), better known in the media as Norman Scott, is an English former stable hand and model who was a key figure in the Thorpe affair, a major British political scandal of the 1970s.

Early lifeEdit

Josiffe was born in Sidcup, Kent,[1] to Ena Dorothy Josiffe (née Lynch[2] formerly Merritt,[3] 1907–1985), and Albert Norman Josiffe (1908–1983)[2][4] her second husband, who abandoned his wife and child soon after Norman's birth.[5] He later changed his surname to "Lianche-Josiffe" by amending his mother's maiden name, Lynch, and for a time called himself "the Hon Norman Lianche-Josiffe".[6][7] When Jeremy Thorpe, MP, took him to stay with his mother, Ursula Thorpe, he introduced himself as "Peter Johnson".[6]

Josiffe was working as a groom for Brecht Van de Vater (born Norman Vivian Vater),[8] at Kingham Stables in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, in 1961 when he met Thorpe, a friend of Vater. After leaving his job at Vater's stables, Josiffe suffered from mental illness and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. On 8 November 1961, a week after discharging himself from the Ashurst clinic in Oxford, he went to the House of Commons to see Thorpe. He was penniless, homeless and, worse, had left Vater's employment without his National Insurance card which, at that time, was essential for obtaining regular work and access to social and unemployment benefits. Thorpe promised he would help.[9] This was when the relationship between the two men was alleged to have started. Thorpe gave him the nickname "Bunnies"[10] but always denied any physical element in the relationship. Josiffe's claims of mistreatment by Thorpe, however, led to his being reported to the police, in the course of which the relationship was revealed.[11]

The relationship allegedly led indirectly to the attempted murder of Josiffe, who was by then calling himself Norman Scott, in 1975.[12] His attacker, Andrew Newton, was arrested[13] after shooting Josiffe's dog, Rinka, but it was not until later that Josiffe's accusations against Thorpe became public. Although the Sexual Offences Act 1967 had decriminalised homosexual acts in most of the UK, and although Thorpe and three others were acquitted of conspiracy to murder at their 1979 trial, the resulting scandal lost Thorpe his popular support and he was forced to stand down as leader of the Liberal Party.

Thorpe's biographer Michael Bloch described Josiffe as both a liar and a fantasist.[14] Of the portrayal of his younger self by Ben Whishaw in the 2018 in the BBC miniseries A Very English Scandal,[15] Scott remarked: "I'm portrayed as this poor, mincing, little gay person ... I also come across as a weakling and I've never been a weakling."[16]

Later lifeEdit

On 13 May 1969[17] after his relationship with Thorpe, Josiffe (now calling himself Scott) married Angela Mary Susan Myers (1945–1986).[18][19] The couple had a son.[20][11][21]

While living in Tal-y-Bont in north Wales,[when?] where he found casual work, Scott met Gwen Parry-Jones, a widow and an acquaintance of Liberal MP Emlyn Hooson, who interviewed Scott about his relationship with Thorpe but did not believe his version of events. After the break-up of their relationship, Parry-Jones died, probably of alcohol poisoning.[21]

Scott testified at Thorpe's trial in 1979, and afterwards retreated into obscurity. At the time of Thorpe's death in 2014, he was living in Ireland,[12] but by the time of the 2018 dramatisation he had returned to the UK to live in Devon.[22]

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ General Register Office; United Kingdom; Birth Register Indexes; Reference: Volume 2a, Page 2064
  2. ^ a b General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Bromley, Q4
  3. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Dartford, Q2
  4. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Bromley, Q2
  5. ^ Simon Freeman with Barrie Penrose: Rinkagate: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Thorpe. Bloomsbury, 1996. p 37.
  6. ^ a b "Murder most Liberal". The Telegraph. 19 Oct 1996. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  7. ^ Leonard Downie, Jr. (June 3, 1979). "Murder Conspiracy Trial Leaves Thorpe a Ruined Man". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Murder most Liberal". telegraph.co.uk. 1996-10-18. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  9. ^ Freeman and Penrose, pp. 40–43
  10. ^ "Who was Norman Scott and what was his relationship with Jeremy Thorpe?". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b Ash Percival (2018-05-20). "'A Very English Scandal': The Real Story Of Jeremy Thorpe, Norman Scott And The Alleged Murder Plot That Rocked British Politics". HuffPost. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b Gordon Rayner (4 Dec 2014). "Jeremy Thorpe scandal: where are they now?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  13. ^ Preston, John (2016). A Very English Scandal. London: Viking. pp. 207–8. ISBN 978-0-241-21572-2.
  14. ^ Andrew Rawnsley (18 Jan 2015). "Jeremy Thorpe review – Michael Bloch's gripping and insightful biography". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  15. ^ Emma Nolan (2018-05-21). "A Very English Scandal: Who was Norman Scott? Who was his wife?". The Express. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Norman Scott criticises 'weakling' portrayal in BBC's A Very English Scandal". The Irish News. 6 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  17. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Kensington, Q2
  18. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Spilsby, Jun 1986; birth regisration not traced
  19. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Spilsby, Jun 1986
  20. ^ General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Spilsby, Q4
  21. ^ a b "Did Norman Scott really get married and have a baby?". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  22. ^ Helen Rumbelow (12 April 2018). "Jeremy Thorpe tried to kill me — Norman Scott on the scandal that shook Seventies Britain". The Times. Retrieved 3 June 2018.

SourcesEdit