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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 July 2006, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Call girl claims Sheridan affair
Tommy Sheridan outside the Court of Session
Tommy Sheridan is suing the paper for 200,000
A court has heard details of a former call girl's alleged sexual relationship with MSP Tommy Sheridan.

The Court of Session heard Fiona McGuire and the Scottish Socialist had an affair after meeting six years ago.

Mr Sheridan is claiming 200,000 in damages after stories about his private life in the News of the World which he claims were untrue and defamatory.

The paper's news editor Douglas Wight said Mr Sheridan's public picture was at odds with his private life.

The newspaper is defending a series of articles published in November 2004 and January 2005.

Mr Wight read out a transcript of an interview he carried out with Ms McGuire.

We were just using each other. It was just a bit of fun
Fiona McGuire
Former call girl

The court heard how Ms McGuire, who was paid 20,000 for her story, told how she met the MSP "under the influence of copious amounts of drugs and alcohol" at a SSP activist's house in 2000.

Mr Sheridan, whom she found charming and passionate about his beliefs, took her phone number and the pair began a number of encounters at hotels in Aberdeen and occasionally in Glasgow, the court heard.

Jurors heard Ms McGuire's claim that the pair drank champagne and ate strawberries in a 110-a-night room.

She also said she showed him underwear which she had bought that day.

Dominatrix outfit

The pair allegedly met a few times and Ms McGuire said: "He was just using me. We were just using each other. It was just a bit of fun. A carry on."

In the interview, she also admitted having a nurse's uniform and a Dominatrix outfit.

Mr Sheridan also liked whipping, although "nothing too harsh", across his legs, the witness said as he read from the transcript.

Cupids
Cupids in Manchester, from where the journalist took a call

According to Mr Wight, Ms McGuire said she was impressed by Mr Sheridan's political views and that he was different from any other politician.

The former Scottish Socialist leader did not mention his wife during their alleged meetings, she added.

Mr Wight told the court: "Tommy Sheridan has built his career on family values. He has always identified with the common man.

"This is a man who was cheating on his wife. Therefore he is not portraying an accurate public picture of himself."

Hot tub

Earlier, the court heard how a "swinger" rang a journalist to say he had just met Mr Sheridan in a sex club in Manchester.

The caller claimed the MSP was in a hot tub in Cupids with two women and all three went into a private room.

Former Evening Times reporter Allan Caldwell told the Court of Session he took the call in 2002 from a contact.

Mr Caldwell, 51, a freelance investigative journalist, refused to name the caller in court.

La Chambre, Sheffield
The club in Sheffield named in evidence

He insisted he had to protect his sources but claimed the man's information had always been 100% reliable over 15 years.

He said the contact was a businessman and liked to attend swingers' clubs.

Mr Caldwell said: "He was in Cupids.

"He said he was there in this club and he had just been speaking to Tommy Sheridan.

"He told me it was a club where you turn up at the door and apparently you pay some sort of membership fee that evening to get in and it is a place where people indulge in free sex, apparently."

The caller claimed Mr Sheridan said he had stopped off there on the way back from London and it was one of a couple of clubs he actually used.

Mr Caldwell added: "The purpose of the call, as far as he was concerned was to have a laugh.

"He wasn't looking for money. He wasn't trying to sell his story."

Claim rejected

Mr Caldwell said he had reported the call to the Evening Times, where he then worked.

He said he had been told not to pursue the story so he tipped off the News of the World.

The same contact also told Mr Caldwell he had seen Mr Sheridan in Chambre, a similar club in Sheffield, in February or March 2006.

Richard Keen QC, counsel for the MSP, suggested Mr Sheridan would not have gone to a swingers' club on the eve of his court battle with the News of the World "unless he was a complete idiot".

The lawyer suggested if the contact had been wrong in identifying Mr Sheridan in Sheffield earlier this year, it followed his earlier identification was wrong as well.

The trial continues.




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