A former MP has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for sexually assaulting a woman and a female parliamentary worker in separate offences nine years apart. He will also be placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.
The crimes of Charles Elphicke, 49, came to light after he was reported to police and parliamentary authorities in late 2017 following the media publication of a list of MPs accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
The first assault took place in 2007 as Elphicke shared a bottle of wine with a woman while his wife was away.
Elphicke became sexually suggestive and lunged at her, attempting to kiss and touch her while she tried to get away.
Elphicke paid her in cash to keep it secret from his wife.
Nine years later, Elphicke who was by then MP for Dover and Deal, assaulted another young woman – a parliamentary worker.
In April 2016, Elphicke forcibly kissed and felt the woman’s body while they shared a drink. In May of the same year, the MP sexually touched her again, despite her having stated she had no interest in him.
The woman subsequently complained to the Whip’s office and Elphicke lied when interviewed about the matter.
Elphicke denied the offences, claiming he did kiss the first woman but stopped when she did not reciprocate, and whilst he was ‘besotted’ with the second victim he did not touch her.
He has now been convicted of three counts of sexual assault on the two women after a three-week trial at Southwark Crown Court. He will be sentenced on 15 September.
Natalie Dawson, CPS Specialist Prosecutor, said: “Charles Elphicke abused his power and influence over these women to make unwanted and forceful sexual advances towards them.
“The assaults have had a profound impact on these women – who feared for their careers if they reported him.
“Elphicke has lied repeatedly about his conduct and failed to take responsibility for his behaviour and the harm suffered by his victims.
“This prosecution and these convictions show that their reports have been taken seriously. I would like to thank them for their bravery in coming forward. Their courage and strength demonstrate that offenders like Elphicke can be brought to justice.
“I hope these convictions today give other victims the confidence to report sexual abuse, no matter how powerful their abuser.”
How the case was proved:
To secure sexual assault convictions, the CPS had to prove not only that the attacks took place but that Elphicke had no reasonable grounds to believe the victims were consenting to his advances.
The prosecution called on substantial evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police demonstrating how both women were shocked and horrified by Elphicke’s conduct.
Accounts given by the women to friends, family and colleagues at the time of the assaults, either in person or via text messages, played a crucial part in proving the charges.
Ms Dawson added: “One of the striking aspects in this case was the similarities in the women’s accounts, despite them never having met and the assaults taking place almost a decade apart.
“Both described Elphicke behaving immaturely immediately after the assaults – such as describing himself as ‘naughty’ – as well as the determined and frantic nature of the touching.
“The case was strengthened by access the second victim gave police to her mobile phone during the relevant period, which provided a timeline of events and demonstrated the distress Elphicke’s conduct had caused her.”