Thorpe became leader of the Liberal party in 1967. He was forced to resign as party leader in 1976 when details began to emerge of his relationship with a former male model and actor, Norman Scott.
Scott announced that the two men had been lovers for two years in the early 1960s, beginning their relationship in 1961 when homosexual activity was still illegal in the UK.
Thorpe, who was married, denied the allegations, but resigned when affectionate letters between the men were revealed to the press.
The story became somewhat darker when it was revealed that Scott’s dog, Rinka, had been shot by a gunman whilst being walked on Exmoor, Somerset.
The gunman, on being released from jail, claimed that he had been paid by someone in the Liberal party to shoot Scott because of his allegations against Thorpe. However, the gunman claimed that, at the last moment, he had balked at the task and shot Scott’s dog instead.
Thorpe and three co-defendants stood trial for conspiracy to murder in 1979. Although the case was later dismissed, Thorpe’s political career was over.
He remained married to his wife, Marion Stein, until her death earlier this year.
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