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Sunday, 19 August, 2001, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Hamilton accuser 'taking risks'
Christine and Neil Hamilton
Christine and Neil Hamilton deny the allegations
Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton says the woman accusing him and his wife of a sex assault is playing a "high risk" strategy by publicly revealing her identity.

Nadine Milroy-Sloan, 27, has waived her right to anonymity, telling the News of the World newspaper she wanted "to stand up and be counted".

But Mr Hamilton repeated his threat to sue the mother-of-four for "making false statements and wasting police time".

Max Clifford
Max Clifford said his client was tired of being attacked in the media
"I can't explain why she has waived her right to anonymity, but she is playing a high risk game in my view," he said.

Publicist Max Clifford, representing Ms Milroy-Sloan, said she went to the paper because she felt she "had had enough".

"She has been attacked by the Hamiltons for ten days," he told the BBC. "They have been chasing the media, creating a media circus, attacking her every day in the papers, on television."

Meanwhile, a friend of the Hamiltons has told a newspaper that the couple had tea with her on the day they are accused of the alleged sex attack.

Lorie Karnath told the Mail on Sunday she met up with them at Claridges, London, at 1830BST on 5 May.

Lawyers acting for the couple say details of their whereabouts prove they were not involved in an assault on a woman, the paper reports.

The couple had complained that while their names had been splashed across the media, their accuser had hidden behind the lifetime anonymity granted to anyone alleging sexual assault.


How many witnesses do [police] need to prove one simple fact

Neil Hamilton
But Miss Milroy-Sloan said she wanted to show the world she had nothing to hide.

"I'm prepared to stand up and be counted," she told the News of the World.

She also said she planned to pursue the claims to court.

Dinner party

The alleged victim has accused the Hamiltons of performing indecent acts on her while she was also being raped at a flat in Ilford, Essex.

No charges have yet been brought and the couple have repeatedly and strongly denied the allegations.

The man accused of raping the woman, Barry Lehaney, 60, also strenuously denies the allegations against him.

Sunday papers
The Hamiltons said the police leaked the story to the press
American entrepreneur Ms Karnath told the Mail on Sunday that when she arrived at Claridges with her husband at 1830BST the Hamiltons were waiting and looked "calm and collected".

"Christine said she had prepared a dinner party and we were sorry they could not stay longer to eat with us," she said.

The Hamiltons' solicitor, Michael Coleman, said this was vital because the alleged attack happened at 1700BST in Essex, while shop receipts produced by the couple put them in Chelsea at 1524BST.

A friend of the couple has already backed the pair's alibi about their giving a dinner party that evening at their Battersea flat.

Tony Tucker - former head of communications at the Scotch Whiskey Association - has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he and his daughter had dinner at the couple's flat that night.

The Hamiltons have expressed surprise that none of the witnesses named in their defence have yet been interviewed by police.

Mr Hamilton said: "How many witnesses do they need to prove one simple fact, that we were in Claridges Hotel at a time which would have made it impossible for us to be participating in a rape at five o'clock?"

The couple were arrested on 10 August and released without charge after five hours of questioning.

The lawyer for the alleged victim, John Bridge, has said that she believes the case will go to trial.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"It is another twist in a bizarre story"
Lawyer and media specialist Mark Stephens
"She probably felt that she had very little alternative"
See also:

13 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Theroux shadows the Hamiltons
13 Aug 01 | UK
Peer seeks rape law change
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