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Salmond: ‘Nicola needed a stake through my heart’

Salmond Sturgeon Stake Through Heart
Illustration: Mark Devlin

Today, Craig Murray, who is on trial for contempt of court, accused with revealing the identities of Salmond’s accusers, submitted evidence in his defence. Extracts of his major revelations follow…

Read the full statement here

After a preamble about his background as an ex-ambassador, diplomat and author, Murray says:

‘9. I discovered with a high degree of certainty that the [Daily Record] leaker was Liz Lloyd, Chief of Staff to Nicola Sturgeon.’

’12. Alex Salmond, with whom I had only very slight prior acquaintance, invited me to meet him in the George Hotel in Edinburgh. Here, for the first time, he told me that Nicola Sturgeon had been behind the process designed to generate false accusations against him. He said as well as Mackinnon and Evans, Liz Lloyd was responsible for the actual orchestration.’

’14. Mr Salmond further told me that there was a massive police operation underway to try to get accusers to come forward against him…He understood that over 400 people had been interviewed by the police…[one woman] stated that she had been called in and interviewed by the police because many years ago Alex Salmond had been said by another person to have been seen kissing her on the cheeks in a theatre foyer. The woman stated she had told them it was a perfectly normal greeting…A ‘retired [personal protection] officer challenged the interviewer as to how he could be involved in such a corrupt stitch up….all the accusations emanated from the same small coterie, there was not a single accusation from an outside or independent source.’

’16. I had never in forty years heard a hint of gossip surrounding Alex Salmond and sexual behaviour, with the single exception of a rumoured romantic attachment with [redacted]. But that had not involved any rumour of unwanted advances by Mr Salmond, quite the opposite ; it was rather widely believed in nationalist circles that she had set her cap at him. The common joke was that [Redacted] was a booby prize.’

The section above was originally published by Murray with the names of the persons involved. He has since redacted it. We have no knowledge of whether those people were witnesses or defendents or were involved in the trial or not.

17. ‘It had been impossible to follow the judicial review case without concluding that a very unfair process had been undertaken against Alex Salmond, and that it was impossible this could have happened without the knowledge and approval of Nicola Sturgeon.’

’18. I asked what the motive could be…he had retired from the party leadership before, and then come back, and perhaps Nicola had concluded he needed a stake through the heart.’

He had made plain to her that he was not happy with her lack of progress towards an Independence referendum following the Brexit vote.

’19. Alex Salmond was plainly very unhappy. He said that he believed that Nicola was banking on his loyalty to the SNP and to the Independence movement, thinking that he would not split the party by revealing what or who was behind the allegations against him.’ 

’23. Alex…blamed himself for having established far too centralised a system of power in Scottish Government and the SNP, and not taking account of how far that was open to abuse by a person of ill-will.’

’24. In June 2019 I met with a person well known in the Independence movement who informed me that they had been present at a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and key members of her inner circle, including ministers, which had gamed the possible outcome of the Salmond affair…The view of the meeting was that if Alex Salmond could be convicted on just a single count, he would be destroyed politically forever…He would be on the register of sex offenders and branded a rapist in the public mind, even if the actual offence convicted was knee touching.’

’26. What struck me, both at the time and still, was that it was impossible to understand the account as given without it involving of necessity corrupt collusion between Nicola Sturgeon’s ministers and aides and the Crown Office over the handling of the Salmond case and the charges being brought.

’31. In March 2020 I had explained and briefly shown to me by a source with good access the content of evidence related to the Salmond trial, much of which was to be excluded from the trial itself by the judge as collateral.’

’32. This material included the message from Peter Murrell, Chief Executive Officer of the SNP, to Sue Ruddick, Chief Operating Officer, to the effect that it was now the right time to put pressure on Police Scotland to move forward against Alex Salmond.’

‘It included the message from Ms Ruddick (I do not recall the recipient) to the effect that the problem was with Police Scotland refusing to detail precisely what evidence they required. If they would specify, then she could get that evidence for them.’

‘It included the message from Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, after the Scottish Government had abandoned its judicial review case, to the effect that they had lost a battle but won the war.’

’33. It included the message from [redacted] to another complainer to the effect that she had a plan that would enable them to have a strongly detrimental effect on Alex Salmond but have anonymity.’

‘It included the message from [redacted] t to the effect that she did not want to attend any further meetings regarding a possible complaint if redacted were going to be present as [redacted] made her feel pressured rather than supported.’

‘It included the message from Ian McCann to the effect that he would sit on redacted’s complaint until it became necessary to deploy it.’

‘It included a number of messages from [redacted] which gave the impression she was playing a central role in orchestrating and organising complainers, but I do not recall any specific details of those particular individual messages.’

’39. In November 2019, I was told by a senior contact within the SNP…that a deal had been struck between Peter Murrell, [redacted] and [redacted] whereby [redacted] would make an allegation of attempted rape against Alex Salmond, and Murrell would [redacted] return to front line politics [redacted].’

’40. If the public knew the identities of those being put up to make allegations, and just how close to Nicola Sturgeon they were, they would immediately understand what was happening’

’41. That accusers included:
Nicola Sturgeon. First Minister of Scotland Leader of the SNP ;
Ian Blackford, UK Parliamentary Leader for the SNP ;
Angus Robertson, Former UK Parliamentary Leader of the SNP ;

‘The combination of the anonymity of these accusers, and the exclusion from the trial on the grounds of « collateral evidence » – and continued intention of the Crown Office to suppress – of the messages implicating Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick in the conspiracy, has resulted in the denial to the Scottish public of information which there is the strongest possible public interest in knowing, in order for them to judge the actions of those in power over them.’

’46. I was also in a deep dilemma as to what to do about it ; the same dilemma Alex Salmond was, and is, in. To expose that it was Nicola Sturgeon who masterminded the conspiracy against him would be a real blow to the Independence movement. ‘But to watch a plot to imprison an innocent man potentially for the rest of his life unfold before my eyes was also horrifying.’

After details of the trial and Murray’s contempt of court charge:

‘100. I have, absolutely against my own instincts, deferred to Alex Salmond’s noble but in my view over-generous wish to wait until the Covid-19 virus has passed before giving all the names of those involved.’

Read the full statement here

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Written by Mark Devlin

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