Charlie Elphicke testified in court and cried when he listed a series of regrets he had. And yet, when he was found guilty of three sexual assault charges last night, many will conclude that his greatest regret has been found by everyone.
Indeed, his misjudgments were so common that it is difficult to imagine how he could have been considered fit for public office, let alone a conservative whip responsible for party discipline.
As an "accomplished liar", he must finally face the consequences – a reputation in ruins, a criminal record, a very likely stay in prison and the end of his marriage. Immediately after the conviction, Elphicke's wife Natalie announced that she had left him.
Charlie Elphicke was convicted on Wednesday of three sexual assaults. His wife, Dover MP Natalie Elphicke, announced that they had split up immediately after the conviction
As a successful financial lawyer, who was awarded an OBE for her services to the housing industry in 2015, she had been by his side every day during the three-week process, coming hand in hand and showing stoic support and loyalty.
However, behind the scenes, a close friend of the couple revealed that the marriage had been in trouble for some time, and spoke of angry arguments when their patience was finally exhausted.
The friend said: “She gritted her teeth to accompany him to the court. She was as steadfast in her support for him as a woman could ever expect. She went to court with him for the sake of her family. "
After her very public humiliation – not only has there been sexual assault on a number of women, but also a two-year affair, all of which have been exposed – few will be surprised that she finally has enough. Charlie Elphicke's dramatic fall began one evening in 2007 with a woman in her thirties with whom he was alone in his town house in Belgravia.
His wife was on a business trip and her two young children slept upstairs.
First he asked the woman about her sex life and asked if she was in bondage and if she liked "silk or leather".
Then he lunged at her, kissed and groped her before chasing her around the house and singing "I'm a naughty Tory" and slapping her on the back in a scene described as straight from a Benny Hill sketch .
Natalie Elphicke was seen leaving Southwark Crown Court alone on Thursday after her husband Charlie was convicted of three sexual assaults
Elphicke, a former government whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, served as a deputy for Dover from 2010 to 2019 and resigned before the December elections when his wife Natalie (right) stood instead
While refusing the comments and the persecution, Elphicke admitted that he shared an amicable kiss, which was initiated by dropping a series of chocolates into his open mouth.
"In a moment of extreme stupidity, I forgot who I was … I forgot where I was," said the 49-year-old.
"I shouldn't have let that happen – the money stays with me. It was one of the greatest regrets in my life. "
Until next time.
That came in 2015 when he started a two-year affair with a second young woman whom he had met through his work.
Everything behind the back of his wife Natalie, of course.
But even these extramarital activities did not prevent Elphicke's wandering eye from clinging to Ms. No. 3, a parliamentarian in her early 20s.
The then Tory MP for Dover complained about his "unhappy marriage" and provided her with champagne. Then he kissed her and felt her. A second attack took place later.
Again Elphicke painted another picture and claimed that he had only "suggested" it.
He "lost his head" after being obsessed with the "vitality and smile" of the "amazing" younger woman. When she complained about what had happened to party lashes, Elphicke lied and lied again – first to senior party members, then to the police and his wife, calling the allegations "horrific and untrue".
"I shouldn't have lied to the police, I should have just anticipated it," he said in court.
"I should have told the whole truth rather than half the truth. It was a terrible mistake. I'm sorry. & # 39;
Given last night's guilty verdicts, it can be assumed that the jury's apology has cut little ice. That was certainly not the case with his wife.
The mail may show that Charlie Elphicke had a reputation long before his prosecutors went to the police to take unwanted approaches to young women.
Last night, a Tory activist told the Mail how Elphicke used the same "naughty" catchphrase after "laughing" at his 2009 fiance at the annual Tory Party conference in Manchester.
At a private dinner, the activist said Elphicke, accompanied by Ms. Natalie, found that the woman, a few years younger than him, was wearing a diamond engagement ring.
"He asked for a look at her ring and said he was an expert in diamonds," he said.
Then he started to stroke her hand and said, "You can do better." He basically humiliated me and licked her.
"I wanted to hit him – and in retrospect I wished I had. But I was young, my boss was there and I didn't want to make a scene. The way he spoke, he sounded like a pantomime villain.
Boris Johnson met Elphicke (left) in Dover last July, a few months before he decided not to vote in the December general election
"His wife could see what was going on and pretended to be normal. He looked very predatory at my fiancee. I think he enjoyed belittling me. "
The activist said a second incident occurred with his fiance and Elphicke at an event in a London restaurant.
"He started playing with her under the Footsie table and kept asking her:" Are you naughty? Are you naughty ", He said.
"When we heard the evidence from the trial and the" naughty Tory "line, we knew that (the complainant) was not lying."
Elphicke's predatory behavior finally caught up with him in the fall of 2017, when waves of the #MeToo movement, inspired by revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, spread across every corner of society.
They soon reached the British political establishment when details became known of what should be called the "Pestminster scandal".
When a number of MPs were publicly charged with inappropriate behavior, disclosures were made of the existence of a "dirty dossier" compiled by Westminster researchers with the names of nearly 40 conservative MPs.
After a Southwark Crown Court trial, Elphicke was convicted of three sexual assaults
The persons named in the dossier were accused of a number of crimes, including fraud against their spouses and "handy at parties".
A revised version of the list of hidden MEP names has been published on Guido Fawkes' political gossip website.
After its publication, the newspapers received an email from libel lawyers Carter Ruck, who acted on behalf of Elphicke.
It warned "any allegation regarding Mr. Elphicke that appears on the list of MPs (as published by Guido Fawkes) is false and any publication of the allegation against him, or even the fact that his name appears on the list, is false defamatory".
The email now shows that the entry in question alleged that Elphicke was "inappropriate" to members of the opposite sex.
Against this feverish background, it became known on November 4, 2017, that he had been suspended by the Conservative Party and that "serious allegations" had been referred to the police.
He and Natalie argued: The MP expressed his surprise, shock, and anger, saying he had no idea what he was accused of, and his wife said that she and her family had been hung up to dry. from the Tory Party.
After lengthy police investigations, sexual assault charges were brought against two women in July 2019.
Elphicke resigned and his wife was properly selected by his constituency party to replace him.
In her victory speech, she praised her husband as the best MP in the region, adding that she was delighted to have the opportunity to build on "his legacy".
The couple's united front would be maintained as it helped Elphicke prepare for the trial.
Given her background, this is perhaps not surprising – both she and her husband are lawyers.
Ms. Elphicke studied law at the University of Kent before specializing in housing finance.
Elphicke studied law at Nottingham University after attending the paid Felsted School in Essex.
His father, Geoffrey, was a business manager, while his mother, Mary-Jo, worked on local politics before unsuccessfully running for the Tories in the 1979 election.
She remarried and for the next 20 years wrote 45 books for Mills & Boon under the pseudonym Mary Lyons.
Coincidentally, Elphichke's older sister is also married to a former Tory MP – Mark Field – who left the Commons last year.
After spending his 20s and 30s as a tax attorney, Elphicke successfully stood in Dover's safe, conservative headquarters in 2010.
The couple's work commitments involved bringing up their two children, a girl and a boy.
The first crime occurred just a few months after the birth of her son in 2007.
When his wife was on business for the first time since birth and the children were in bed in their town house in Belgravia, Elphicke invited the woman to share a 40-pound bottle of wine with him.
"I think he talked about me and my friend," she told the court.
"He was talking sexually about what we liked. I only remember saying" I shouldn't really be talking about that. "
Shortly after the former MP's conviction, Natalie Elphicke tweeted to the supporters announcing that they would divorce
He said "do you like silk and leather?" Or so and about a bondage thing. "It was" embarrassing "and" excruciating. "But what followed, she added, was much worse.
"He just jumped on me," she said. "He pushed me down on my shoulders and he had his knee between my legs and he felt against my chest. He tried to put his mouth on my mouth. It wasn't what I would call a kiss. It was like an open mouth on my face. He was everywhere on me. "
The court heard Elphicke then pay her an amount of money – about £ 5,000 in £ 100 and £ 500 increments.
In an interview with the police, Elphicke claimed that the woman asked for "compensation".
When asked if he had ever told his wife about the payments, Elphicke said to the police, "No."
The second victim told how she was at Elphicke's company in 2016 and shared a bottle of champagne in Westminster.
They discussed their mutual fondness for Abba when he said "I really like you" and attacked her.
She described the feeling of being threatened by Elphicke, whom she said was a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality, and told the police that she had heard him say, “People in my good books go a long way . People in my bad books don't. "
She said, "The message I received was," Don't finish me up. "
Elphicke told the court he thought she was equally attracted to him and invited her to meet him in his apartment, where he waited several hours, but she never came.
"I felt like a complete idiot," he told the court.
His victim said she decided to comment on the allegations in November 2017 when government whips contacted her about an investigation they had started in Elphicke.
During the course of the police investigation, rumors spread in his constituency that he had had an affair.
He finally admitted this to his wife, but failed to tell her or the police about his attraction to the other woman whom he accused of attacking in 2016.
Elphicke said he feared that if he had chosen to do so, it would have turned out to be "too much" for his wife, and only admitted his true feelings in March of this year, as they were preparing for the trial.
"It was very, very difficult," he said. "I have a lot to do. She's the most annoyed that I didn't tell her in the beginning."
Another regret – add to the list of others.
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