Stephen Ward

Stephen Thomas Ward (19 October 1912 – 3 August 1963) was an English osteopath and artist who was one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair, a British political scandal which brought about the resignation of John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, and contributed to the defeat of the Conservative government a year later.

In 1945, Ward began practising osteopathy in London, and rapidly became quite prominent and fashionable, with many distinguished clients. In his spare time he also studied at the Slade School and developed a talent for sketching portraits which provided a profitable sideline. His practice and his art brought considerable social success, and he made many important friends. Among these was Lord Astor, at whose country house, Cliveden, in the summer of 1961, Ward introduced Profumo to a 19-year-old showgirl and night-club model, Christine Keeler. Profumo, who was married to the actress Valerie Hobson, embarked on a brief affair with Keeler. Most of their assignations took place in Ward's home in Wimpole Mews.

Ward's friendship with the Soviet military attaché Yevgeny Ivanov, known by MI5 to be an intelligence officer, drew him to the attention of British intelligence, who sought to use him in an attempt to secure Ivanov's defection. The matter became complicated when, through Ward, Ivanov met Keeler, raising the possibility of a Profumo–Keeler–Ivanov triangle. Profumo ended his relationship with Keeler, which remained largely unsuspected until early in 1963, when the disintegration of Keeler's private life brought matters to public and press attention. Profumo denied any impropriety in a statement to the House of Commons but a few weeks later admitted his affair. He resigned from his ministerial office, parliamentary seat and membership in the Privy Council. Amid a range of rumours of widespread sex scandals in government and high society, the police began to investigate Ward. In June 1963, he was charged with immorality offences and committed for trial.

In the trial, in July 1963, Ward was abandoned by his society friends and exposed to the contempt and hostility of the prosecuting counsel and judge. Despite the relative paucity of evidence and the dismissal of most of the charges against him, he was convicted on two counts of living off immoral earnings. Before the verdict was announced, Ward took an overdose of sleeping pills and died three days later. In 2014, the trial verdict was put under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, but in 2017, the commission decided not to refer the case to the Court of Appeal because the original transcript of the judge's summing up could not be found. Provided by Wikipedia
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