As mentioned briefly below, the trial today heard the testimony of Katrine Trolle a key witness for the prosecution of both Tommy and Gail Sheridan. Up until today the case has almost exclusively heard evidence about disputed accounts of SSP executive meetings and what, if anything, was admitted at them. Today we heard for the first time from someone who allegedly participated in the trip to the Cupids club in Manchester. The salacious nature of much of what was said in court today will be sure to dominate the Scottish Tabloids tomorrow.
The Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC opened the questioning by confirming Ms Trolle's name and occupation. She told the court that she had joined the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in 1999 after a public meeting addressed by Tommy Sheridan. She went on to state she first met Mr Sheridan in person at the Anniesland by-election held in November 2000. During that campaign she canvassed alongside Mr Sheridan and spent time in his car alone with him. She said they had got on well "talking and telling jokes." She also claimed they had discussed, amongst other things Danish people's liberal views on subjects such as "pornography and sex. She added that she and Mr Sheridan had both "been flirting" with each other.
She was then asked if she knew, at this time, if Mr Sheridan was married. She told the court that she knew he had a "partner' but not that he was married. She said she and Mr Sheridan had been flirting when canvassing together. Mr Prentice then moved on to December 2000 and asked Ms Trolle if she had seen Mr Sheridan at this time. She informed the court that she had been staying with her mother in law in Glasgow a and that the accused had asked if she would come and see him. She claimed he had picked her up from a bus stop and had then driven to Mr Sheridan's home where they went upstairs and "had sex." When asked if anyone else was present in the house at the time she responded "I sincerely hope not."
The court was then shown a drawing, made by Ms Trolle, of what she claimed was Mr Sheridan's home. Included in the drawing were stairs, a room labelled "sunbed" and a description of the bedroom decorations and bedclothes. Asked if she had been at the house for long she said no, as Gail Sheridan had called Tommy Sheridan to pick her up from a Christmas function. According to Ms Trolle they both dressed quickly and Mr Sheridan dropped her off near to her home.
She was then asked if she knew an Andrew McFarlane, Mr Sheridan's brother in Law she said she did. She claimed that she and Mr Sheridan had "Spent the night in his place." She said that she and Mr Mcfarlane had drank some wine then Mr Sheridan and herself had went upstairs. They were then, she told the court, joined by Mr McFarlane and the three of them had "sexual intercourse" for most of the night. The witness was then shown a series of pictures of the interior and exterior of a house and identified it Mr McFarlane's dwelling. She was also shown a photograph of Tommy and Gail Sheridan holding a small, white, West Highland terrier which she identified as being present at the house when she was there.
She further described to the court two other sexual encounters with Mr Sheridan, one on or around the 2nd October 2001 and one in Glasgow on November 2002. She claimed the second encounter had occured in Mr Sheridan's office in Glasgow city Chambers after a march on St Andrews day (Mr Sheridan was then a city councillor) When asked about the march however she could not say what it was the protest was about.
Mr Prentice them moved on to Ms Trolle's testimony about the alleged visit by her, Tommy Sheridan and others to the Cupids club in Manchester. She said that Mr Sheridan had talked to her,by telephone, about a club in Manchester and asked her to come with him. She stated she had initially said no but had finally agreed. When asked about the nature of the club she said her understanding was that it was a "place were people went and had sex." Mr Prentice then introduced into evidence a series of telephone records (a large number judging by the pile of paper) and put a mobile number to Ms Trolle which she identified as one she was using at the time.
Returning to the events Ms Trolle testified that she had got a bus to Glasgow where she had been picked up by Mr Sheridan before going to a flat owned by "Gary." There she met Andrew McFarlane Gary and Anvar Khan and they proceeded to drive to Manchester.
Mr Prentice then went through various records to establish the date of this alleged event. He produced Ms Troll's bank records and asked about various purchases made on 26th September 2002 from Primark and Debenhams. She stated these goods were a handbag and some black underwear she bought for the trip to Manchester (to go with her "skimpy dress") Mr Prentice also produced Ms Trolle;'s diary for that year which had the dates 27, 28 and 29 September 2002 marked off with the words "cultural festival" written next to them. When asked if she had actually attended a cultural festival on those dates the witness laughed and said no, and that entry represented the trip to Cupids.
On arriving in Manchester Ms Trolle said that when she saw the club she "felt like an absolute idiot, it looked like nothing from the outside." She claimed Mr Sheridan had described it as a "lovely, fancy and nice place which it wasn't" Nevertheless she entered the club and the party entered a side room and had sex "with each other." She also stated that at one point another person at the club recognised Mr Sheridan and said to her "you must be Gail then." She then told the court that the party had later left the club and went to a house with another two couples, whom she described for the court, where "we all had sex with various partners." They then left the house in the early hours, drove back to Glasgow. She then got changed in the flat and returned home. She was later asked to describe the to couples she had stated they met. She said one was an older man with a ponytail, who was in the company of a younger "asian" woman and an older couple whom she describes as "not very handsome,' and "perhaps in their 50's.
The last alleged sexual encounter described by Ms Trolle occurred in 24th October 2004 in her then home in Dundee. On this occasion she claimed there were two other present when Mr Sheridan arrived, her housemate Ruth Adamson and her then boyfriend Ralph Barrett who was described in court as a journalist for the Dundee Courier. She said both these people saw her and Mr Sheridan go to her room together where they spent the night.
She was then asked about her testimony to the libel case brought by Tommy Sheridan against the News of the World in July 2006. She told the jury she had told the truth in that case and was telling the truth now. She was also asked if she had attended the SSP conference in Perth held in February 2005 (this is the subject of one of the charges against Gail Sheridan) she denied having been in attendance as she was childminding for a friend of her's Debbie Hemmingway. then with, what even he described as a "strange question" Mr Prentice asked Ms Troll if she was a vegetarian to which she responded that she was when she was in Scotland.
Court then adjourned for lunch. Our report on the afternoon session will be available later this evening.