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Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Lord Archer's mother dies
Lady Archer, Lord Archer and son William leaving the Old Bailey
Lord Archer at the Old Bailey with his wife and son
Lord Archer's 87-year-old mother has died, the jury at his Old Bailey perjury trial has been told.

Trial judge Mr Justice Potts said Lola Hayne, who was living in a nursing home in Essex, died on Wednesday.

Lord Archer, who had been given permission to leave the trial on Wednesday, was back in court on Thursday.

1995 file photo of Lord Archer with his mother Lola
Lord Archer with his mother Lola in 1995
He was accompanied by his wife Lady Archer, dressed entirely in black, and their sons William, 29, and James, 27.

Mr Justice Potts expressed his sympathies to Lord Archer, but told the jury they should not be distracted from the trial.

He then continued his summing up of the case, which relates to Lord Archer's successful 1987 libel action against the Daily Star, which had claimed he had slept with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

'Crucial' evidence

Mr Justice Potts reminded the jury of the evidence given by Lord Archer's former secretary Angela Peppiatt.

She had told the court that Lord Archer had given her a list of names and told her to fill them into dates in a blank diary, to be given to his lawyers and passed onto the Daily Star's legal team.

Angela Peppiatt outside the Old Bailey during the prosecution case
Angela Peppiatt's evidence was "crucial"
Mr Justice Potts said her evidence about the diaries and the list of names was of "crucial importance".

"This evidence really goes to the very heart of this case.

"She said that in or around April 1987 Jeffrey Archer produced this piece of paper and a blank diary and asked her to fill in the names that he had written down."

He said a handwriting expert had identified the writing on the list as identical to Lord Archer's.

However, he added that Mrs Peppiatt had admitted, under cross-examination, that a note she had written with another secretary about the diaries had contained "inaccuracies".

Five charges

The judge is expected to let the jury retire at the end of the week to consider verdicts on five charges against Lord Archer.

The 61-year-old peer denies three charges of perverting the course of justice and two of perjury.

Lord Archer has been cleared, on the direction of the judge, of one charge of perverting the course of justice and of using an A4 diary as a false instrument.

His co-defendant, retired television producer Ted Francis, 67, of Cranleigh, Surrey, denies one charge of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Ben McCarthy
reports from the Old Bailey
See also:

06 Jul 01 | UK
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