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Top Tory MP Nigel Evans 'used his position of power to rape and abuse men'

KIM PILLING AND PAT HURST

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

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.

And another happened when he grabbed the privates 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.

His behaviour "escalated" but 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.

Police began an investigation after Evans allegedly raped a 22-year-old man who spent the night at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, last year.

Both went to sleep but the student awoke a couple of hours later when he was being raped.

Details of the events were later passed to an MP, who in turn told the Speaker, John Bercow.

The Speaker brought the matter to the attention of the police, said the prosecutor Mark Heywood QC.

The first alleged offence happened 11 years before, in late 2002, with the complainant, an openly gay man of 27. The House of Commons worker was in a busy Soho bar and Evans was also there and had "obviously had quite a lot to drink", said Mr Heywood.

"Whilst the complainant was standing talking to someone else he felt a hand going down the back of his trousers. He was shocked by it but, and this is, you will see repeated over time, he did not want to cause a fuss because of who Mr Evans was."

The jury heard of various other complaints.

The MP was arrested on May 4 last year and eventually charged last September.

He denies all the allegations.

The trial continues.

QUOTE

"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.

"This behaviour also escalated in seriousness, no doubt because he believed that his position made it less than likely that someone would complain."

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC

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