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Former UK minister, ex-wife released from jail

Last Updated: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 20:29

London: Disgraced former British cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife who were jailed here in March for perverting the course of justice were today freed from prison with electronic tags to track their whereabouts.

The former energy secretary and Liberal Democrat MP described his time in jail as a "humbling and sobering experience".

He had been found guilty of an offence dating back a decade when his then wife Vicky Pryce took speeding points for him to shield him from losing his driver`s licence.

The 58-year-old was released from Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire, having served eight weeks of his eight-month sentence and returned to the flat he shares with PR adviser Carina Trimingham in London.

"I would just like to say once again, as you know from the night I was sentenced, I said that I was very sorry for what I had done. It has been a humbling and sobering experience," he told reporters outside the flat.

"I would like to thank all of those who have written to me ? hundreds of letters that I have had ? and all my family and friends who stood by me. And I would also just remind you that I have served only part of my sentence and therefore it is not appropriate to say more. I would now like to get on, get back to home, and continue with my life. Thank you for coming," Huhne said.

His ex-wife Pryce was also serving a similar sentence at East Sutton Park prison near Maidstone, Kent.

Both are category D open jails, which allow relative freedom of movement to the prisoners.

The 60-year-old said she was "very pleased to be home" after returning to her Clapham, south-west London, residence and said she was looking forward to returning to work as an economist.

"She is grateful for all the support she has received from everyone whilst in prison, including her fellow residents and prison staff. She now intends to spend time with her family and looks forward to returning to her career as an economist," her lawyer Robert Brown told reporters here.

The pair will now have to wear electronic tags to monitor their movements, under the terms of the Home Detention Curfew scheme.

Earlier this year, the courts were told that Pryce had revealed the speeding points scandal to newspapers in 2011 to seek revenge.

The incident took place in March 2003 when Huhne`s BMW car was caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport in Essex and London.

He was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) at the time and in danger of losing his licence having already accrued nine penalty points.

After vehement denials, Huhne finally changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial in February after failing to have the case dismissed and resigned as MP of Eastleigh on the same day.

Huhne and Pryce are yet to hear how much they will have to pay for the cost of their prosecution.

The senior Lib Dem figure had left Pryce in 2010 as his relationship with Trimingham was about to be exposed, ending his 26-year marriage.


First Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 20:29

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