Europe

Tuesday 22 July 2014

MP used his 'influence' in assaults

By Kim Pilling and Pat Hurst

Published 11/03/2014|02:30

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British Conservative MP and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans, arrives at Preston Crown Court northern England March 10, 2014.  Evans appeared at court on Monday charged with sexual offences against men. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS)
British Conservative MP and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans

DRINK-FUELLED MP Nigel Evans used his "powerful" political influence to sexually take advantage of seven young men, a court heard.

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The former deputy speaker, who had the "ability to make or break" careers, assaulted alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office in the Palace of Westminster, a jury at Preston Crown Court heard.

One sexual assault took place when he was "plastered" in the 'Number 10' bar at a Conservative Party Conference in 2003, when he allegedly put his hand down the trousers of his victim and the matter was referred to a senior Tory offical.

And another allegedly happened when he grabbed the penis of another young man sleeping on a sofa at his home in 2009.

He had a meeting with another Tory chief whip, Patrick McLoughlin, and was "spoken to" and told not to put himself in such situations again.

But his behaviour "escalated" and he was not reported to police for another three years after allegedly raping another young man, the jury was told.

Evans (56) faces nine charges in all, dating from 2002 to April 1 last year.

The MP for Ribble Valley, in Lancashire, denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

Opening the case, and refering to Mr Evans's strong political position, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said: "The prosecution case against Mr Evans is that he, often when in drink, pressed his sexual attentions on those younger men, using or trading on his position of influence. (© PA)

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