Hell hath no fury
A recent review of an opera now showing at the London Coliseum starts with a resume of the plot namely that it is the story of a wife seeking revenge on her unfaithful husband.
Surely not Huhne the opera already? No it is the story of Medea a woman who murders her children to exact revenge on her husband. Unfortunately the Huhne Pryce divorce/ trial has all the ingredients of a classic opera;farce, tragedy.
What worst time can there be to make a confession of adultery when a football mad wife is half way through watching a World Cup match?
It appears that the news was only broken to Ms Pryce when it was about to go public. According to a summary in the Telegraph on 8 November 2011 of a radio interview Ms Pryce gave on Radio 4 Mr Huhne apparently said that (quoting from the account of the interview) “he had been found out by the press for having an affair, and that he was about to make a statement before they exposed him, which he went and did and I discovered it just like that. It was only over a few minutes… that I learnt our marriage had basically come to an end. He went to the study and wrote it up and sent it off, and then went to the gym. That was that.”
By anyone’s reckoning, if the account is accurate, it is a brutal way to end a 26 year marriage. There is historical precedent for this. Robin Cook famously told his wife Margaret that their marriage was over when the news of his infidelity with Gaynor was about to go public, at Heathrow airport when the couple were about to go on holiday.
Returning to the Huhne saga it appears from press reports that Mr Huhne is alleged to have made his wife have an abortion in 1990 when she accidently became pregnant. However matters became worse when, apparently, in 2003, Huhne, who was trying to be selected for the Eastleigh constituency, told his wife he had been caught for speeding in 2003 and he could not afford to take the points as he would have faced an automatic ban under the totting up rules. Ms Pryce like her husband has been charged with perverting the course of justice. However unlike him she pleaded not guilty to the charge citing a defence of marital coercion. It appears form the reports in the press detailing Ms Pryce’s evidence that Mr Huhne confronted her with the form and told her that she had to “sign this right now”.
According to reports of the trial She said “I realised I absolutely had no choice, I was already nominated…..it would have meant saying my husband had lied on the form.”
In summing up, the judge outlined Ms Pryce’s defence, telling jurors a wife is morally blameless in law if she commits an offence only because her husband was present and coerced her. At the first trial the jury were unable to reach a verdict and were discharged. At the re trial the jury did not believe Ms Pryce’s defence and she has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
For the record the quote in the title comes from William Congreve’s “The mourning bride”; the full quote being:
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned; nor hell a fury like a woman scorned”