Lancashire TelegraphRibble Valley MP Nigel Evans rape accuser 'regrets cowardice' (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans rape accuser 'regrets cowardice'

Lancashire Telegraph: MP Nigel Evans MP Nigel Evans

A MAN who said he was raped by former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans at the MP's home in Lancashire has told a jury he had not given a false account to "save his conscience".

Giving his third day of evidence, the complainant denied he and the MP had consensual sex and he had "regretted it ever since".

He told the jury what he did regret was "my cowardice" at allowing himself to get into the situation where he ended up in bed with Evans.

The incident is said to have taken place after the complainant attended a dinner party last year at Evans's home in his Ribble Valley constituency where he had agreed to stay overnight in a spare room.

Preston Crown Court has heard that the man, in his early 20s, say he had not invited or wanted any sexual contact but he said he got under the covers with Evans after he was "escorted" to the 56-year-old's bedroom.

The MP's account of events was that the pair kissed downstairs and that the young man willingly went to bed with him and they had consensual sex.

Mr Wright asked the complainant: "Is it simply that on reflection you wish none of this had ever happened?"

The complainant replied: "Yes, I do wish none of this happened."

Mr Wright continued: "And you have recollected events to this jury that is inconsistent with what actually took place."

"No," said the complainant.

The barrister went on: "And that in fact there was consensual activity between you that night and in the cold light of day you regretted it and you have regretted it ever since."

"No," said the complainant.

Mr Wright said: "And what you sought to do is to rationalise your conduct in a way that is consistent with the account you have given to save your conscience about it."

The complainant responded: "That's so far-fetched."

Earlier, Mr Wright put it to him that he had woken up in Evans's bed and felt regret at what had he had consented to.

The complainant said: "I regret my cowardice. I did feel angry, I did not feel responsible for Nigel's behaviour."

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

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

Mr Wright focused on how the rape complainant had relayed the events of the night to others.

The alleged victim said he had "escaped" to the bathroom several times during the night to avoid the MP's advances in bed.

He texted a friend, another of the complainants in the case, to say "Help me".

In one of the messages he mentioned that he had been "dragged" into the bedroom.

The complainant told the jury that had not actually happened.

He said: "I was saving face. I was a bit dramatic in the texts, as people can be."

Mr Wright said: "For dramatic effect?"

The complainant replied: "Yes. I don't see why it's important."

The barrister continued: "Dramatic effect tends to be a tool of persuasion, doesn't it, to make more convincing what is being asserted, for greater impact with the audience?"

The complainant said: "Like I said, I was saving face."

Just over a month after the dinner party, the complainant spoke on the phone to a police officer based at the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Wright went through the statement made by the female officer of the account he had given her.

One section read: "The suspect followed him upstairs, pushing him into the room, saying 'Stay here'."

Mr Wright said: "Did you tell the officer that he pushed you into the room?"

The complainant replied: "I honestly don't know."

The barrister said: "Or is this for dramatic effect?"

The complainant said: "I can't remember."

Mr Wright said: "Did you tell the officer he said 'Stay here'?"

The complainant said: "I can't remember... I have not got a perfect memory.

Mr Wright said: "The officer went on to say 'He was pushed on to the bed and promised the offer of a job after he left university'."

The complainant said: "No, I did not say that."

The court has previously heard the complainant describe how he "froze in shock" when he woke up to find himself being allegedly raped by Evans.

Mr Wright suggested that he had told the officer the "precise opposite" in that he said he had struggled with Evans and attempted to push him off.

"No," said the complainant.

Later the same day the complainant spoke to another officer, who was from the Metropolitan Police's sexual assault investigation unit.

The court heard that that officer also noted a reference to the complainant being pushed into the bedroom and pushed on to the bed.

"Why did you say that?" asked Mr Wright. "Did you say that?"

The complainant said: "Maybe, yes. I was so embarrassed, so humiliated about everything.

"I was just trying to save face and not look stupid or look weak."

When asked by the officer why he had not gone to sleep in the spare room, the complainant had replied: "I stayed in the room because I did not want to make him angry. He is a very powerful man."

Following cross-examination, Mark Heywood QC, asked the complainant: "The idea that everything was consensual and reciprocated, any truth in that?"

The complainant replied: "No truth at all."

Mr Heywood continued: "Did you consent to penetration?"

"No," said the complainant.

The prosecutor said: "Was there any conversation with Nigel Evans about that before it occurred."

"No," repeated the complainant.

The trial continues on Monday.

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