MP Nigel Evans ‘battled with sexuality’

Prosecution sums up its case against Evans.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th April 2014, 4:30 pm
Case: Nigel Evans MP
Case: Nigel Evans MP

Former Commons deputy speaker and Lancashire MP Nigel Evans’s “struggle with his own sexuality” may have led him to commit indecent acts, a jury has been told.

Preston Crown Court has heard that Evans knew he was gay by the time he was elected as an MP in 1992 but did not reveal it publicly until the end of 2010.

From 2000 onwards the 56-year-old said in evidence that he began to seek men for sexual relationships.

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In 2003 Ribble Valley Evans is alleged to have indecently assaulted two men in their 20s when he approached them in public places while in drink and put his hand down their trousers.

Evans denies the offences and has also pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, sexual assault and attempted sexual assault involving five other young men.

In his closing speech to the jurors, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said he acknowledged that they had heard than more 30 “eloquent references” to Evans.

His character and achievements could be seen to be “a given” but a different picture of him had emerged in evidence, the barrister said.

Mr Heywood said: “Why is it that a man like Nigel Evans finds himself in this situation here? You will have to consider that.

“Is it perhaps born of a long life of service but obscuring a truth which he himself was reluctant to first admit and then to publicise?

“A struggle with his own sexuality that led eventually to a decision at the beginning of the last decade to pursue contact with others?

“Was it simply that, at the start of those events, he was unable to do it as others had done and do, coming to it so late?

“Is that what lies behind some of this?”

The trial continues on Monday when defence barrister Peter Wright QC will deliver his closing speech to the jury.