Disgraced former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke may be jailed today after he was convicted of three sexual assaults on two younger women.
The 49-year-old 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 while Dover MP in 2016.
The court heard Elphicke, a father of two and qualified lawyer, lied to police, senior colleagues and his own wife about what happened.
In fact, wife Natalie Elphicke – his successor as Dover MP last year – only learned of his emotional attachment to the parliamentary worker when she pored over case files during lockdown.
Elphicke also kept an affair with a third woman between 2015 and 2017 secret from his wife until his arrest in 2018.
Neither the victims, or the third woman, can be identified for legal reasons.
Mrs Elphicke announced the end of her 25-year marriage on Twitter as she sat in a taxi leaving court less than an hour after the verdicts were returned.
She broke the news to Elphicke and their young son earlier, and later said she found the court ordeal “horrible, humiliating”.
Elphicke, whose official Twitter account and website disappeared following his conviction, was told by judge Mrs Justice Whipple there was “a very real possibility” he will be jailed.
The court heard how the first offence took place when Elphicke invited a woman in her early 30s to share a drink with him while his children were asleep and his wife was up country with work – the first time she had been away since the birth of their son.
The woman said Elphicke asked her about bondage and sex, then kissed her and groped her breast before chasing her around his home.
Breaking down in court, she told jurors: “I was just shocked – really, really shocked.
“He was saying really bizarre things that are embarrassing, like ‘I’m a naughty Tory’.
“He was trying to grope me and trying to grab my bum.”
The second complainant said Elphicke also tried to kiss her and then groped her when they met for a drink in Westminster in April 2016.
He then told her: “I’m so naughty sometimes.”
The victim said: “He had his mouth open, continually trying to kiss me.
“It was like a disgusting, slobbery mess.”
She said she spurned Elphicke’s sexual advances, telling jurors she was physically repulsed by him, and that Elphicke told her he had “not been happy for years” in his marriage.
She said he assaulted her again the following month when he ran his hand up her thigh towards her groin.
Elphicke said he kissed the first victim because he initially felt it was something they both wanted.
He told jurors he was “besotted” with the second complainant, but denied assaulting either of them.
The court heard Elphicke initially denied any knowledge of the allegations against the parliamentary worker when he was summoned before Tory party whips in January 2017.
He later called on his “friend”, the former attorney general Dominic Grieve, to accompany him to a second meeting, although he failed to mention to Mr Grieve that he had strong feelings for the woman.
Elphicke also admitted lying to police about the same issue, banking on him not being prosecuted and therefore being able to keep it from his wife.
He became a government whip under David Cameron’s premiership in 2015, but returned to the back benches when Theresa May came to power the following year.
Elphicke 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.
Last month, police arrested an unnamed Conservative former minister on suspicion of rape. He was released on bail until November.