Evans 'staggered' over arrest

Banbury Cake: Former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans arrives at Preston Crown Court, where he faces nine charges Former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans arrives at Preston Crown Court, where he faces nine charges

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

And the MP, who denies a series of sex offences, told detectives he was "staggered" at being arrested, and sat in a police interview room accused of rape, Preston Crown Court heard.

Evans is said to have raped the young man, then aged 22, following a dinner party at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire in March 2013.

Today 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.

Evans, 56, told officers: "Did I have sexual contact with him, the answer is yes.

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

The MP for Ribble Valley said after drinking champagne and red wine his other dinner guests left his home, leaving him alone with the young man, 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?" to which the MP said "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 they had oral and penetrative sex and at no point did the young man say he did not want to.

The MP told officers: "He followed me upstairs, as I turned right to go into my bedroom, he said, 'Shall I follow you?' To which I said, 'Yes'.

"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 who he said followed him to bed, 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.

"We had been kissing downstairs. He followed me up to the bedroom and said 'shall I follow'."

Later Evans said: "I mean this is part of the problem why am I sitting here. 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 was "incredibly shy" or if he was someone he knew would "never say no to him", he told police: "(The alleged victim) 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 the 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 and touched his penis.

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.

"At no stage did he say 'get out of bed'.

"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: "He was quite content for me to just lie there with him.

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

He denied he had touched the complainant's penis. Evans went on to tell the detectives that he considered his current relations with the complainant were "still incredibly friendly".

He added that he would receive text messages from him with kisses on them.

Evans said that he did not believe the alleged victim would have made a complaint for "a single second" but for the police contacting him.

He continued: "My relationship with (the alleged victim) was absolutely superb.

"I still contend that if the police had not contacted him I do not believe in a million years that he would have decided one morning that 'I must go and make that complaint'.

After being interviewed on the rape allegation Evans was bailed by police until June 19.

On that date he was re-arrested and questioned on three new allegations, two of indecent assault and one of sexual assault, involving three more complainants.

An indecent assault is alleged to have occurred in the early hours of the morning at the Number 10 bar in the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, during the 2003 Tory Party conference, when Evans 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 between the two.

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."

The jury then heard Evans' police interviews as each allegation from the remaining complainants were put to him.

The MP flatly denied an allegation that he "cupped" the genitals of one young man in the Strangers' Bar of the House of Commons in May or June, 2010.

Evans told officers: "With this one, it really is one of the most absurd things you have put before me. It just beggars belief. It is absurd.

"This is vexatious and vindictive. I'm accusing him of being a liar. It's vindictive."

The next sexual assault was put to the MP, alleged to have taken place in February 2011, near Evans' office in the House of Commons and involving touching the complainant.

Evans was asked if there had been any sexual contact between him and the young man.

He replied: "None on that date or any other. I don't find him attractive at all."

The court heard Evans was bailed until September 10, 2013 when he was re-arrested and questioned over allegations made by the final two complainants.

Evans was said to have put his hands down the trousers of a young man while on a night out in a Soho bar in early 2003.

The MP told police he had "absolutely not" done such a thing.

He added: "I'm staggered he's made this sort of allegation if he's come forward of his own free will."

He told officers only recently this alleged victim had been sympathising with him over his predicament and had also sent him an email inviting him out for a drink.

Evans added: "It beggars belief. That's just bonkers."

The MP said he thought the complainant may have fancied him and that he "likes a drink".

Evans also denied the final allegation - that he tried to kiss a young man near the Strangers' Bar in the summer of 2010.

But the MP also said as there were links between a number of the complainants, he may be the victim of a plot to "destroy his career".

"It seems to me like an old pals act," Evans told police.

"This is part of a plot, a conspiracy."

At the end of the final police interview, the MP added: "I think that this is just so weak, but it appears then on TV, I have been arrested for another case, it paints a picture and it's simply not fair."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning.

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