15 Sep Charlie Elphicke jailed for two years over three sex assaults | Politics News
Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has been sentenced to two years in prison for three sexual assaults on two younger women.
The judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, described the 49-year-old as a “sexual predator” who used his “success and respectability as a cover”.
“You made your victims come to court,” she said.
“They told the truth, and you told a pack of lies – not only to the jury, but your wife, the whips and the police.”
Elphicke showed no emotion as he was sentenced – and has since confirmed through his spokesman that he is seeking to overturn the conviction.
He declared himself a “naughty Tory” as he chased his first victim around his central London family home in summer 2007, moments after groping her while they shared a bottle of wine.
He also groped a second woman, a parliamentary worker in her early 20s with whom he was “besotted”, twice in a month in 2016.
Sentencing Elphicke at London’s Southwark Crown Court, the judge said to him: “You treated what you did as a joke, saying of yourself that you were ‘naughty’ in an attempt to trivialise your actions.
“You suggested to each woman that this was something they wanted, that they had encouraged, that they had enjoyed. That was not true. They had not encouraged you or led you on. Your behaviour was also an abuse of power.”
During his trial, the court heard Elphicke, a father of two and qualified lawyer, lied to police, senior colleagues and his wife about what happened.
The disgraced politician was MP for Dover from 2010 until last year’s general election, at which he was succeeded in the Kent constituency by his wife Natalie.
After her husband was convicted in July, Mrs Elphicke announced the end of her 25-year marriage on Twitter as she sat in a taxi leaving the court.
She wrote that the decision had brought “profound sorrow”.
In the wake of the verdict, Mrs Elphicke said: “I fully support Charlie in his appeal against both his convictions and today’s excessive sentence.”
She added: “There is no doubt that Charlie behaved badly. However, everyone, Charlie included, has the right to a fair trial, and I don’t believe that he has had one.”
Reading a statement from the first victim, prosecutor Eloise Marshall QC, said the effect of Elphicke’s actions “had a lasting impact”.
She said she now had a “significantly increased sense of caution” when coming into contact with men.
The second victim said in her impact statement, parts of which were read out in court, that Elphicke “stole a large part of my self-worth and self-esteem”.
“My inner scars will always be there,” she said.
Defending Elphicke, Ian Winter QC, had urged the judge not to jail him and said he was now the primary carer for his teenage son.
“Shortly, Mr Elphicke’s descent into total disgrace will be complete,” he told the court.
“He has lost his wife, his daughter of 20 years is estranged from him as a direct result of his conviction, and his son, aged 13, has received sustained and quite vicious bullying at his school.”
Mr Winter added: “I can assure you on his behalf that it will never happen again.
“When one steps back and looks at the man you are sentencing today, you do have somebody who is essentially a good man.”
He said 34 character witnesses had come forward to support Elphicke, including “serving members of parliament”, but did not disclose their names.
Elphicke became a government whip when David Cameron was prime minister in 2015, but he returned to the back benches of the House of Commons when Theresa May came to power the following year.
He had the party whip suspended in 2017 when allegations of sexual assault first emerged, but it was controversially reinstated a year later for a crucial confidence vote in then-prime minister Mrs May.
The whip was withdrawn again the following summer when the Crown Prosecution Service announced its decision to charge Elphicke.