Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans ‘mystified’ at rape accusations

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Nigel Evans at Preston Crown Court Nigel Evans at Preston Crown Court

RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans told detectives he was ‘staggered’ and ‘mystified’ at being accused of raping a man at his Pendleton home. 

Mr Evans admitted having sex with the man 33 years his junior but told police: "We are not talking about a wilting flower here."

The former deputy speaker, 56, who denies a series of sex offences, told detectives: "Did I have sexual contact with him? The answer is yes.

"Was it non-consensual, the answer is no."

Yesterday the jury heard his answers to questions from detectives at Preston Police Station following his arrest on May 4 last year, five weeks after the alleged sexual assault following a dinner party.

The former Tory MP said after drinking champagne and red wine, his other guests left his home, leaving him alone with the 22-year-oldman, who was intending to stay over in his spare room.

But they began ‘caressing and kissing’ downstairs and Evans said when he went upstairs to go into his bedroom the young man said: "Should I follow you?"

The MP said he replied ‘yes’ and they each took their own clothes off and had sex.

Evans told officers: "At what stage he thought what was going to happen was not consensual, I'm a bit mystified.

"Had he not wished to have any sexual contact with me he could have said so which he never did.

"He could have gone up to his own bed.

"He said, 'Should I follow you in?' And he did. He took his own clothes off. I did not lead him in or push him in or any of that.

"As far as I was concerned everything that occurred was consensual.

"I'm somewhat staggered by the allegations he is now making."

Evans is alleged to have sexually assaulted seven young men on various dates between 2002 and last year by using his ‘powerful’ political influence to take advantage of them.

He denies one rape, two indecent assaults and six sexual assaults.

The MP told officers there was a ‘loose arrangement’ for the young man to stay over and sleep in the loft conversion at his home though he also had the option to return to his own home after the party.

Evans said all his guests had been drinking but none were drunk, having downed champagne, four or five bottles of red wine and port during their meal.

The MP said he was openly gay, having ‘come out’ in 2010 and he was also aware the young man was gay.

He said at no point did the young man say he did not want to have sex.

Evans said: "We got into the same bed together even though there was a bed upstairs designated for him.

"Had he never wished for sexual activity at all I would have assumed he would have gone upstairs.

"Saying, 'No' or 'Stop' would have been another indicator...but of course there was none of that."

Speaking about the alleged victim, Evans told police: "We are not talking about a wilting flower here. We are talking about someone who is gay and knows I am gay.

“At no stage did he give me an indication that he was anything other than content to be with me in bed and having sex."

Contemplating aloud whether the alleged victim would ‘never say no to him’, he told police: "(He) can hold his own. I believe he is a person who wanted to have sex with me and that night had at least 50 ways to say no."

Evans was then questioned about an alleged sexual assault of a Westminster worker at the MP's home in 2009.

He was said to have put his hand down the boxer shorts of the complainant as he slept on his sofa.

Evans said he had fallen asleep in a chair and fully clothed he had lifted the duvet and got under the covers where they ‘nestled together’.

"He seemed very very comfortable with that," the MP said. "He actually seemed to enjoy it."

He said his arm wandered down but it was pushed away and he went back to sleep. Evans said a few minutes later his hand wandered down again but this time the complainant said ‘no, stop, stop’.

The MP said he did not have "a pre-programmed idea" of what he was going to do if he was not rebuffed as he explained he had misread the signals.

He said: "On the second attempt he was fairly aggressive...I then got the message."

During a later interview he was asked about an alleged incident at the Number 10 bar in the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, during the 2003 Tory Party conference, when he is said to have put his hands down the trousers of a young man.

Evans told officers he had a ‘vague recollection’ of the alleged complainant, but denied any physical contact.

He added: "We are talking about 10 years ago, after all."

The MP told police it was not something he would do anyway - and certainly not in a room full of MPs, party activists and journalists.

Evans said: "I don't sexually assault people, I don't sexually assault people in public places and I would be horrified by the suggestion that I would."

Earlier the court heard that Commons Speaker John Bercow MP said he ‘wanted to ensure the police were informed’ after sex abuse allegations concerning his deputy were passed to him.

In a witness statement he said Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston had been brought to her attention that two people had said they were raped or sexually assaulted by Evans.

He said he met one of the men and told him the matter was ‘serious’.

However a pencilled in meeting with the rape complainant did not happen.

In his statement, Mr Bercow said: "I did not want to turn a blind eye which would be irresponsible but I needed to reflect on the matter and wanted to seek legal advice.”

That advice from the Speaker's Counsel Michael Carpenter was not to meet with the rape complainant.

The trial continues.

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