Key witnesses in the Tommy Sheridan trial

During Tommy Sheridan's two-and-a-half month trial, the High Court in Glasgow court heard from 69 witnesses. Read summaries of the key testimonies in the table below.

Key witnesses

Who Evidence What they said Read more
Keith Baldassara

Keith Baldassara

One of Mr Sheridan's three best men, Mr Baldassara said he first heard allegations about the party leader in 2002. He said Mr Sheridan told him he had attended but not taken part in an event at a Glasgow hotel, which included group sex. As the Crown closed its case, all charges relating to alleged events at the Moathouse Hotel were deleted from the indictment.

"It wasn't about sex being bought or paid for and therefore had no involvement in prostitution, which was concerning me."

Tommy Sheridan 'admitted attending hotel sex party'

Bob Bird

Bob Bird (News Of The World Scotland editor)

Bob Bird denied his paper was involved in the production of a tape purporting to show Tommy Sheridan admitting visiting a sex club. He said he first saw it at George McNeilage's home, after stripping to his underwear to prove he had no recording devices. Mr Bird denied investigator Glenn Mulcaire - jailed in 2007 alongside the paper's royal editor for phone hacking - had targeted Mr Sheridan.

"I did not see any evidence of surveillance."

Editor denies phone-tap 'culture'

Rosemary Byrne

Rosemary Byrne (former South of Scotland MSP)

Rosemary Byrne said Tommy Sheridan did not admit visiting a sex club at a "hysterical and nasty" SSP meeting. She said the ex-MSP told colleagues the News of the World stories were untrue. Ms Byrne also said she thought the United Left group, which was formed within the SSP, was "out to get" Mr Sheridan before the allegations were published, and was motivated by jealousy.

"They had already found Tommy Sheridan guilty and, no matter what he said, he was guilty."

Sheridan 'denied sex club visit'

Gary Clark

Gary Clark (childhood friend)

Mr Clark said he went to an "unusual" club with Mr Sheridan and three others, where pornography was shown on the TV screens. He said the visit was in September 2002, weeks after his marriage ended, and he was drinking heavily. Mr Sheridan asked Mr Clark if his memory was unreliable. He admitted it was but added: "I am 100% certain about certain things."

"It (Cupid's) was not showing Tom and Jerry on the TVs."

Sheridan 'attended porn TV club'

Andy Coulson

Andy Coulson (former NOTW editor)

Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron's press chief, said he was not aware of any illegal phone hacking at the paper during his editorship. He said he took "ultimate responsibility" by resigning after reporter Clive Goodman was convicted, alongside private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Mr Coulson denied ordering Mulcaire to intercept Mr Sheridan's phone, and said he had no interest in destroying him.

"It's your voice Mr Sheridan and I think you know it is."

Coulson: No phone tap 'hush cash'

Tony Cumberbirch

Tony Cumberbirch (Cupid's employee)

Tony Cumberbirch worked at the Manchester swingers' club Cupid's for about 12 years, but said he was visiting socially on the night he claimed to have seen Tommy Sheridan with four others. He said he realised it was him when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. Mr Sheridan listed Mr Cumberbirch's previous convictions, including burglary and assault, and described him as "a dishonest man".

"It was Tommy Sheridan, two lads and two lasses in the club."

Worker 'saw Sheridan at sex club'


Frances Curran (former West of Scotland MSP)

Frances Curran told the court she asked Tommy Sheridan to resign the day after he allegedly admitted visiting Cupid's to party members. Ms Curran said she told the SSP leader she "expected more honesty and principle" from him. She said she told Mr Sheridan she was not prepared to lie for him, but would not go "running to the tabloids" either.

"Your biggest crime is a sell-out. You sold out your party, you sold out the people who voted for you."

Curran 'asked Sheridan to resign'


Colin Fox (Ex MSP and SSP leader 2005-08)

Mr Fox described the SSP meeting on 9 November 2004 as the party's "9/11", because of the leader's alleged admissions. The ex-Lothians MSP testified some people would say "black is white" for Mr Sheridan, and told the court he had been asked to lie on his behalf. However, Mr Sheridan was acquitted of attempting to suborn a witness, due to a lack of corroboration.

"We would remember that meeting for the rest of our lives."

Sheridan claims colleague 'smear'

Rosie Kane

Rosie Kane (former MSP for Glasgow)

Rosie Kane told the court when the News of the World published a story about an MSP visiting a swingers' club, she took bets on their identity in the Scottish Parliament. Ms Kane was one of 16 SSP members who told the court Mr Sheridan admitted the article was about him during the 9 November meeting. She said some party members were in tears.

"You'll have to forgive me if I can't remember every dot and comma, but the overriding truth remains the overriding truth."

Sheridan claims colleague 'smear'

Hugh Kerr

Hugh Kerr (Sheridan's former press officer)

The former Labour MEP said Tommy Sheridan's SSP colleagues were jealous of the publicity he received and thought he "ought to be taken down a peg or two". Mr Kerr said he contacted police after a bug was allegedly found on Mr Sheridan's car. He said he was told there was not enough evidence to prove who had apparently hidden the device.

"There was a lot of hate, visceral hate, generated in this conflict."

SSP members 'jealous' of Sheridan

Anvar Khan

Anvar Khan (former NOTW columnist)

The journalist met Mr Sheridan through work in 1992, and said they had sex on several occasions. A News of the World story claiming Ms Khan had "a kinky fling" with a married politician was one of the articles over which Mr Sheridan raised his defamation action. Ms Khan also claimed to be part of a group of four who attended Cupid's with the ex-MSP.

"We went into his bedroom, there was a large picture of Che Guevara above the bed, and we had a shag."

Witness denies 'kinky fling cash'

Carolyn Leckie

Carolyn Leckie (former MSP for Central Scotland)

Carolyn Leckie was one of four MSPs called a "scab" by Tommy Sheridan in a newspaper, after giving evidence against him at his defamation action in 2006. She told the court Mr Sheridan had admitted visiting the sex club Cupid's at the special SSP meeting. Ms Leckie, and the three other former MSPs, denied being part of a faction intent on ousting Mr Sheridan.

"I think it's absolutely disgusting that Tommy has dragged Gail through this."

Sheridan 'swingers tape' played


Matt McColl

The Crown dropped all charges relating to an alleged sex party at the Moat House Hotel after Mr McColl faced claims that he had lied during his evidence. He testified that he had seen Mr Sheridan at the Moat House Hotel in Glasgow in 2002, but admitted previously telling police Mr Sheridan had not attended.

"To my recollection Mr Sheridan was at the Moat House."

Charges dropped in Sheridan trial


Alan McCombes

Alan McCombes was jailed for refusing to hand over SSP minutes before the defamation action. He said he did so to protect the party from a "toxic legal quagmire". Mr McCombes admitted being the source of a Sunday Herald affidavit stating the party would have made information public to force Mr Sheridan to resign, had he not offered to when allegations were made in 2004.

"You're a liar Tommy, a pathological liar."

Sheridan 'denied' sex club claims


Andrew McFarlane (Sheridan's brother-in-law)

Andrew McFarlane described as "total nonsense" claims he had visited a swingers' club with Tommy Sheridan. The former footballer, who is married to Gail Sheridan's sister, said at the time of the alleged sex club visit in 2002 he was recovering from hip surgery at home. He said former friend Gary Clark was part of a conspiracy to make false allegations.

Prosecutor: "Your position is Anvar Khan, Gary Clark and Katrine Trolle are all liars?"

Andy McFarlane: "That's exactly what I'm saying."

Sheridan relative denies sex trip


George McNeilage (SSP member)

Tommy Sheridan's best man claimed he secretly filmed the former MSP in 2004, following the News of the World articles. The jury was shown the footage, where a man not visible on the tape is heard admitting attending a sex club. Mr McNeilage said he sold the tape to the paper in 2006, for £200,000. Mr Sheridan claimed someone mimicked his voice in the recording.

"You know that it is you and me, Tommy."

Sheridan friend denies 'sell out'


Duncan Rowan (North-east of Scotland organiser for SSP)

Duncan Rowan said he told the News of the World of an alleged affair between Tommy Sheridan and Katrine Trolle to protect Fiona McGuire, who the court heard he had been seeing. The newspaper had been investigating whether Ms McGuire was having an affair with Mr Sheridan. Mr Rowan said he felt guilty when Ms McGuire sold her story and left Scotland.

"I believed they had the wrong person, I believed I knew who the right person in the story was."

Video shown of 'Sheridan mistake'


Barbara Scott (SSP minutes secretary)

Barbara Scott took notes at the SSP meeting in 2004, when Tommy Sheridan allegedly admitted he was the unnamed swinger MSP featured in the News of the World. Ms Scott said he confessed to visiting a sex club. She told the court when Mr Sheridan won his defamation action, she gave the handwritten minutes to police. The secretary described claims they were fabricated as "laughable".

"It was hypocritical...his image of a family man, having your wife with you in the paper and then visiting this club."

Sheridan note change 'discussed'

Katrine Trolle

Katrine Trolle (former SSP member)

The occupational therapist said she had slept with Mr Sheridan on numerous occasions between 2000 and 2004, including at his marital home. Ms Trolle said she noticed a sunbed in the house, a claim countered by Gail Sheridan's QC who said the couple did not own one. Ms Trolle also testified to attending Cupid's sex club with Mr Sheridan and three others in September 2002.

"There was minging decor (at Cupid's) - old carpets, dingy lighting. It really wasn't anything that Tommy had described."

Sheridan 'had three-in-bed sex'


Douglas Wight (Former news editor at the NOTW Scotland)

Douglas Wight testified he did everything possible to verify Fiona McGuire's claim that she was having a relationship with Mr Sheridan before the News of the World ran the story. He said the paper paid Ms McGuire £20,000 and denied it had exploited a "vulnerable woman" in its pursuit of Mr Sheridan.

"She (Fiona McGuire) said the prospect of facing someone she described as a former lover, she found very daunting."

Journalist 'stopped suicide bid'


Chief Inspector Phil Williams (Officer leading phone hacking investigation)

The Met Police officer led the inquiry into phone hacking by the News of the World reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. He said the discovery of Mr Sheridan's address, phone number and some pin numbers in Mulcaire's notebook was not evidence that he had been a victim of interception. Mr Williams denied treating the News of the World with "kid gloves".

"There was nothing unusual for people within the media to have details of all sorts of people in the public eye."

Claim Sheridan 'set up by state'

More Scotland stories