United Kingdom

Charlie Elphicke agreed to pay a woman £5,000 after allegedly sexually assaulting her, court hears

Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke agreed to pay a woman £5,000 after allegedly sexually assaulting her, withdrawing the money in small amounts to prevent his wife from finding out, a court heard.

The 49-year-old father of two - married to Dover MP Natalie Elphicke - said it was the complainant's demand to be paid "compensation" after the alleged incident at his family home in central London in 2007.

Elphicke said he believed the woman "wanted to take matters further" after they shared a bottle of wine while Mrs Elphicke was away on business, and said he had been "under a misapprehension" in making advances towards her.

The woman, in her early 30s at the time, alleged Elphicke tried to kiss her, groped her breast, then chased her around his home while trying to grab her bottom.

A second woman, a parliamentary worker in her early 20s, has accused Elphicke of two sexual assaults in 2016.

Neither woman can be identified due to laws granting anonymity to alleged victims of sexual offences.

Excerpts from Elphicke's interview with police in March 2018 were played during his trial at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.

In them he said the woman asked him not to tell his wife about the 2007 incident and to pay her £5,000.

He said: "I said we should tell Natalie. She said she didn't want Natalie to know.

"I got it (the £5,000) in smaller amounts - £500, £1,000 - because she was insistent Natalie shouldn't know."

Asked if he had ever told his wife about the payments, Elphicke told police: "No."

He also described how the first alleged incident happened and said that he stopped immediately when the woman told him to.

He said: "We were chatting for quite a long time, we drank through much of the bottle of wine.

"She was feeding me chocolate stars, putting them into my mouth.

"It was very convivial, very friendly - she became tactile.

"The atmosphere was very warm and convivial and I believed she wanted to take matters further.

"I leaned over and kissed her.

"At first she responded positively, then it became clear it was not what she wanted."

The woman later alleged Elphicke chased her round the house chanting "I'm a naughty Tory".

Elphicke told police they discussed the matter at a later date, during which the woman was "very unhappy" with what had happened.

He said: "I was incredibly apologetic. I believed this was what she wanted.

"She said she accepted my explanation, my apology, and that I had been under a misapprehension."

Elphicke, who was Dover MP from 2010 until 2019 when he was succeeded by his wife, denies the charges.

The trial continues.

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