Alleged sexual assault victim demands East Lancs MP Nigel Evans resignation

Blackburn Citizen: MP Nigel Evans MP Nigel Evans

AN ALLEGED sexual assault victim demanded Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans resign after he was ‘molested’ at the politicians Pendleton home, a court heard.

But the complainant was told by the Conservative chief whip that it was not possible so close to a general election, Preston Crown Court was told.

The witness told the jury he was asleep on a sofa downstairs at the defendant's house when he awoke to find the ‘high functioning alcoholic’s’ hand inside his boxer shorts in July 2009.

The allegation was made on the third day Evans trial for one count of rape, two of indecent assault and six of sexual assault. He denies all the charges.

The court heard two days after the alleged incident a meeting was arranged with Patrick McLoughlin, then the Tory chief whip in his House of Commons office, the jury was told.

The young man said he told Mr McLoughlin, now the transport secretary, along with John Randall MP and Iain Corby, a Tory policy researcher, about the incident at the meeting.

"Mr McLoughlin's reaction was one of mainly irritation, he sighed and huffed and blew the whole time," the witness told the court.

"He said, 'So what do you want to happen now?'

"My response was that I thought Mr Evans should resign from his seat as MP for Ribble Valley. I believe I said immediately.

"Mr McLoughlin said, 'It can't be done'. 'The timing is not right'. 'I would find it very difficult to explain why an MP is leaving his seat at this point before a General Election'.

"'He has no immediate family that we can pass it off on. It can't be done'."

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, asked: "Pass it off on? Wants to spend more time with his family?"

The witness replied: "Exactly."

Mr Randall, the then deputy chief whip, asked what the ‘issues’ were with Evans.

The witness told the court he replied that Evans had a ‘massive issue with his own sexuality’ as the MP at that point had not publicly come out as being gay, though it was an ‘open secret’ in Westminster.

The witness continued: "I said that alcohol was a massive problem. He was a high functioning alcoholic. He was drinking every day."

He said the matter was resolved after it was agreed in the meeting that Evans would be ‘heavily sanctioned’ by the whips and he would get counselling for his issues over sexuality and drinking.

The witness told the court he was asleep on a sofa downstairs at Evans' house when he awoke to find the MP's hand inside his boxer shorts.

"He had his hand around my penis," he told the jury.

“I could just feel it on me.

"I immediately pushed Mr Evans and he pretty much flew across the furniture and I shouted, I think it was along the lines of, 'What the F do you think you are doing?'

"He was on the floor where I pushed him and he said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry'."

Earlier former Tory councillor Mark Formosa told jurors he saw a man ‘thrashing about very violently’ to get away from Evans at a Conservative party conference in Blackpool in 2003.

He said Evans, 56, had got ‘uncomfortably close’ to the alleged indecent assault victim in a bar and that a ‘fracas’ broke out.

The indecent assault is said to have happened at the Number 10 bar in Blackpool.

Mr Formosa told the jury he saw two men talking, one of which was Evans, who was holding a pint of beer.

He said: “He was getting closer and closer and closer to the younger man. Uncomfortably close in my view.

“I noticed that he was getting so close there was touching and I remember saying ‘what is going on over there?’”

He told the court his colleague replied: “That’s just Nigel.”

When the younger man tried to get away from Evans, Mr Formosa said a scuffle broke out.

He said: “I saw the younger man thrashing about very violently from side to side to wrench himself free from Mr Evans’ grip.

“Mr Evans had his hand down the front of (the alleged victim’s) trousers.

“I intervened along with several others in order to assist (the complainant) to get Mr Evans off him.

“We pulled him off and pushed him back towards the bar.”

When cross examined by Evans’ barrister Peter Wright, it was suggested Mr Formosa ‘did not see such an incident’ and that he had made the story up.

The witness replied: “I can only tell you what I saw.”

Conor Burns, the MP for Bournemouth West, then took to the witness box to describe how he saw the aftermath of the alleged indecent assault.

Mr Burns told the court it was something he had ‘absolutely forgotten’ about until he was contacted by the alleged victim to say the police had been in touch with him.

Evans stood down from the post of shadow secretary of state for Wales, but Mr Burns said that was unrelated to the allegations.

He told the court he offered the defendant advice to spend less time socialising Proceeding.

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