Nigel Evans sex abuse trial: Tories ‘knew about senior MP’s gay sex assault, but kept it quiet before election’

Former Deputy Speaker and Tory MP goes on trial accused of offences including rape

The former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans was warned by senior Conservative Party figures including its then Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin, to modify his drinking and predatory sexual behaviour four years before he was charged with the alleged rape of a student, a court heard on Monday.

Mr Evans, 56, who is accused of sexually assaulting seven men, was described as a “very well-known and powerful individual” who would prey on young people with ambitions in politics.

Preston Crown Court heard the attacks happened at a variety of locations around the Palace of Westminster.

Although allegations were aired at the most senior levels of the Tory party, police were not called until the alleged rape of the student in March 2013 was drawn to the attention of the Speaker, John Bercow, who alerted detectives.

A year before the 2010 general election, Mr Evans was advised by Mr McLoughlin, now a minister for transport, to come out as gay, the court heard. This followed an alleged assault on a parliamentary aide who claimed the Tory grabbed hold of his penis as he slept at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, which was also reported to Tory whip Michael Fabricant.

The alleged incident was also discussed with Iain Corby, Corby, managing director of the Policy Research Unit, Mr McLoughlin and his deputy John Randall. The jury was told that the timing was considered “unfortunate” because it was less than a year before a general election.

It was agreed that Mr Evans should not resign – despite the wishes of the alleged victim that he do so – but would seek help for his drinking and that he should “not put himself in situations which could be misconstrued”. He was then told that he should come out as gay, said Mark Heywood QC, for the prosecution.

Mr Evans was warned a second time about his behaviour, this time in 2010, by fellow MP Conor Burns around the time of the Speaker’s election. “It was suggested that he socialise with MPs and not with young people or researchers,” the court heard.

It was alleged that parliamentary aides and party workers were sexually abused over a period of 10 years. The alleged attacks took place at the Tory party conference, in a bar, corridor and office of the House of Commons as well as at Mr Evans’ Lancashire constituency home.

Opening its case at the start of the five-week trial, the prosecution said Mr Evans, who denies all the charges against him, was often drunk and would trade on his influence to press home his sexual attentions. “Part of his influence included the ability to make, or to break, the careers of young people who would be politicians or work for those who govern,” Mr Heywood said. His actions were “repeated over time, despite warnings”, he added.

It was alleged the first indecent assault occurred between 2002-03 and involved an openly gay 27-year-old man. At the time Mr Evans was shadow Welsh Secretary and it was claimed he put his hands down the trousers of the younger man in a Soho bar.

The second incident was said to have taken place in the early hours at the Number 10 bar of the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool during the 2003 Tory party conference. The alleged victim was drinking with a journalist friend when a “plastered” Mr Evans approached them and again put his hands down his trousers. The matter was reported to a member of the Conservative Party Board and Mr Evans was escorted to bed by Mr Burns, who later became an MP, and Nirj Deva MEP.

The matter was referred to Mark Hoban, then a junior whip. Although the party worker was “clearly upset and considered that he was a victim of a sexual assault”, he did not want the matter referred to the police or to become a disciplinary matter.

A third alleged attack occurred between 2009 and 2010 and involved a 21-year-old bisexual student who, it was claimed, was confronted by Mr Evans in a corridor outside the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons. He was beckoned behind a curtain where the older man tried to kiss him. No further complaint was made.

The jury also heard that in the summer of 2009 a young man, who had initially contacted Mr Evans on Facebook while he was a student studying politics, accompanied the MP to his constituency home. On the second night of his stay he had been with Mr Evans and an aide at his local pub before returning to his home with a group of others. During the night it is alleged that Mr Evans fondled the young man as he slept under a blanket on the sofa. He pushed him away and the MP apologised. The matter was later referred to Mr McLoughlin, then the Tory Chief Whip – described by the prosecution as “the man in charge” – the court heard.

A fifth alleged victim claimed he was sexually assaulted shortly after the general election after drinking in a bar at the Commons. It was around the time Mr Evans was fighting his successful campaign to become Deputy Speaker and he was part of a group of MPs drinking.

Mr Heywood said: “Suddenly without warning, invitation or cause the defendant reached out with his right hand and physically cupped [his] genitals through his clothing,” he said. “The defendant did not seem to react and just carried on as if nothing had happened,” he added.

The sixth sexual assault was alleged to have occurred in 2011 in Mr Evans’ speaker’s office where he had a small bedroom. The alleged victim and a number of MPs were present. The younger man was lured by “a ruse” to a kitchenette where, Mr Heywood said, he grabbed his hand and forced it on to his erect penis.

The final incident involved a student who had first met Mr Evans when he was aged 15. He was invited in 2013 to dinner with other guests at Mr Evans’ constituency home. When the others left it is alleged he was groped by the MP, who then followed him upstairs and guided him into his bedroom.

There, it was claimed, he tried to kiss and fondle the younger man, who repeatedly tried to move and brush his hand away. The prosecution said he feared confrontation and locked himself in the toilet where he sent a series of text messages to another of Mr Evans’ alleged victims.

One said: “Help me.” Another said: “Nigel has tried to stick his tongue down my throat three times,” while the other said “100 per cent penis grabbing”. Later in the night he awoke to find Mr Evans astride his back. The younger man “froze in shock” and he was raped, the court heard.

“Mr Evans was not aggressive or particularly forceful,” Mr Heywood claimed, adding that he had been wearing a condom. He then allegedly tried to force him into performing oral sex. “I’m really, really tired and you have church,” he is alleged to have told the older man.

The trial continues.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape