MP Nigel Evans ‘assaulted man in dark room’
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans pushed a young man into a darkened room at Westminster and sexually assaulted him, a jury has heard.
The witness told Preston Crown Court that “very quickly” the MP “put his arms all over me and tried to kiss me”.
He pulled away and then left the room “as quickly as possible”, he said.
The witness is one of seven young men that Evans, 56, is said to have assaulted.
The Westminster worker said he did not report the alleged incident at the time because he gave “the benefit of the doubt” to the defendant who he considered “one of the nice guys”.
He added that people in Parliament “don’t tend to have confidence in reporting anything about MPs”. But he said he came forward to the police following the widespread reporting of Evans’s initial arrest last year.
The incident is said to have taken place in a kitchen along the Deputy Speaker’s Corridor in February 2011.
The complainant was drinking in a group with Evans in the Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons when the MP invited him, a friend and others to join him for champagne in his offices.
During the evening the alleged victim said he was invited by Evans to look at a nearby newly-fitted kitchen, the court heard. He said the Ribble Valley MP opened the door and then with his left hand pushed him into the room.
The complainant said: “It was pitch black and then very quickly he kind of came forward and put his arms all over me and tried to kiss me. I felt his lips on mine at that point.
“He touched my crotch, he touched my bum...over the top of my clothing. I remember him saying something like ‘you’re gorgeous’. I didn’t say anything because I was in shock.”
He said he “gathered his senses” and pushed him off.
“I remember grappling and feeling around for the door,” he continued. “Then I opened the door and left the room as quickly as possible.”
He told a number of people about the alleged incident in the days that followed but did not make an official complaint.
He told the court: “Because of how much I liked Nigel I think I decided to convince myself it was a one-off and that he got carried away, and he overstepped the line. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt. And in Parliament, people don’t tend to have confidence in reporting anything about MPs.”
He said he believed the disciplinary system was “more concerned about how things appear rather than with actually what happened”.
The court heard that Evans sent the complainant a Facebook message several days after the kitchen incident. The MP wrote: “Hi (the alleged victim), my mobile number is ...., great to see you the other day.”
The young man responded: “Hi. Thanks for allowing us to gatecrash your drinks. We (he and his friend) both had fun.”
Evans then replied: “Yep, great fun!”
Referring to the message, the complainant told the court: “I kind of took it as him thinking ‘do I need to worry about this incident being reported?’”
He said he went on to deliberately avoid Evans “to some extent” while at work. But he recalled “a lingering hug” that Evans gave him in the Sports and Social Bar on a later date that concerned his then partner.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC asked the complainant about the nature of his relationship with Evans prior to February 2011.
He replied: “He was someone I liked very much. I can be quite cynical about MPs but I though that he was one of the nice guys.”
The witness, who is gay, said he was aware that Evans was also gay before he publicly declared it as it was an “open secret”.
He said that there was no contact of a sexual nature between them prior to the alleged incident but he added: “Nigel was often quite flirty, just over-friendly. Some of my colleagues and friends would poke fun at me about the fact that Nigel was flirting but that was not a problem.”
He said he was “quite tipsy” on the night he said he was sexually assaulted and that Evans “seemed his usual friendly, charismatic self”.
The witness told Mr Heywood that the arrest of Evans last May prompted him to contact a senior officer at Lancashire Police who he knew.
Evans denies one rape, two indecent assaults and six sexual assaults said to have taken place on various dates between 2002 and last year.