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Jeremy Thorpe 'hit-man might not be dead', police admit

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A probe into a scandal involving former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe will be reopened after police may have wrongly assumed one of the suspects was dead.

A 2015 investigation into the alleged attempted murder of his lover - Norman Scott - was closed in 2017.

Gwent Police assumed Andrew Newton - who shot Mr Scott's dog, and claimed he was paid to kill Mr Scott - had died. But they now say he may still be alive.

Mr Scott said he thought police were "continuing the cover up".

The revelations have been unearthed in the BBC Four documentary The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal.

Claims that police altered the evidence of another person being hired to kill Mr Scott before Newton, a small-time air pilot, were unearthed by BBC Panorama journalist Tom Mangold in 2014, the year Mr Thorpe died.

Dennis Meighan said he was approached by associates of Mr Thorpe, and Newton, to carry out the murder.

This led to Gwent Police reopening the investigation, but after they concluded Newton was dead, the Crown Prosecution Service told Mr Scott no further action would be taken.

Mr Scott, 78, said: "I just don't think anyone's tried hard enough to look for him. I really don't.

"I thought [Gwent Police] were doing something at last and soon found out that absolutely they weren't, they were continuing the cover up as far as I can see."

Gwent Police said after revisiting some enquiries, investigators "identified information, which indicates that Mr Newton may still be alive".

"As a result, further enquiries will be conducted to trace Mr Newton to assess if he is able to assist the investigation."

The programme includes unearthed footage from a Panorama programme from 1979 that was never broadcast for legal reasons, after Mr Thorpe and his three co-defendants were acquitted of conspiracy to murder.

The director general at the time kept a master copy of the programme but ordered all other copies to be destroyed. But veteran reporter Tom Mangold kept his copy of the report.

The programme will air after the end of the dramatisation A Very British Scandal, which stars Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott.

The Jeremy Thorpe Scandal will be broadcast on Sunday at 22:00 BST.

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