Published: 13:00 BST, 30 July 2020 | Updated: 18:38 BST, 30 July 2020
The Conservative MP wife of self-proclaimed ‘naughty Tory’ Charlie Elphicke stormed out of court today and announced she is divorcing him – minutes after he was convicted of three sex attacks on two women and warned he may face jail.
Natalie Elphicke, 49, who took her husband’s seat in Dover and Deal last year, left Southwark Crown Court in dark sunglasses this afternoon without her husband after he was found guilty of groping his victims.
Minutes after she left, Mrs Elphicke, who had previously been loyally by the shamed MP’s side at court for everyday of his two-week trial, tweeted: ‘Today’s verdict is one that brings profound sorrow.
‘It ends my 25 year marriage to the only man I have ever loved. I would ask for some personal space and time to come to terms with the shocking events of the last 3 years’.
Her disgraced husband, also 49, an ex-lawyer and MP for ten years once touted as a possible cabinet minister, sighed and looked at his lawyer as the jury recorded guilty verdicts in each of the three sexual assault allegations after two days of deliberations.
Mrs Elphicke had refused to be in the court with her husband when he was convicted.
He then joined her in a private room where they had a brief conversation without his lawyers present, which lasted around 10 minutes, MailOnline can reveal.
The mother-of-two then marched, stony-faced, out of court alone before jumping into a waiting taxi from and tweeted that their marriage was over.
When asked by MailOnline to comment about the verdict, she replied: ‘Please don’t speak to me.’ Mrs Elphicke then hollered: ‘Can you just drive,’ with the taxi then speeding away.
‘Naughty Tory’ Charlie Elphicke (pictured with his wife Natalie today) has been found guilty of three sex attacks against two women
Immediately after the conviction, Elphicke’s wife Natalie left the court in dark sunglasses and then announced she was leaving him
She tweeted that her marriage to the ‘only man I have ever loved’ was over after 25 years after he was convicted of sex attacks in a trial where he also admitted infidelity
Former Dover MP Charlie Elphicke leaves Southwark Crown Court alone today after being found guilty of sexual assault with his reputation and marriage in complete tatters
The trial judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, released the fallen sex attacker on bail to be sentenced on September 15, but warned him he may go to prison: ‘There is a very real possibility he faces immediate custody’.
Charlie Elphicke was once a rising star of the Tory party, whose political career was bolstered by a supportive wife and doting children that gave him the veneer of the archetypal ‘Conservative family man.’
A former barrister and solicitor, Elphicke lived in a lavish £2million London town house with his wife Natalie, their two children, Anna, 19 and Thomas, 13, and pet dog Star. This is where the first attack against the woman also took place in 2007 while his lawyer wife was away on business. A former Conservative whip who was responsible for keeping MPs in order, Elphicke’s conviction has sent his political and domestic life crashing to the ground following a trial which revealed salacious details about his own conduct.
Referring to the first victim, Elphicke admitted to kissing the woman in her 30s and drinking wine and feeding chocolate stars to each other at his Belgravia townhouse in 2007, while his wife was away on business.
Born in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, Elphicke was educated at the private Felsted School in Essex then going on to study law at Nottingham University. Before entering politics, he was a partner in an international law firm and specialised on securing investment into Britain.
Elphicke was first elected as Conservative MP for Dover and Deal in May 2010. He was lost the Tory whip in 2017 when allegations of sexual assault were referred to the police.
He was readmitted to the party in December 2018 prior to a confidence vote in then-Prime Minister Theresa May but was again suspended when he was formally charged in July 2019.
In December 2019 he stood down as the Conservative candidate for Dover and Deal to fight the sexual assault allegations. He was replaced by his wife.
For the entirety of the three-and-a-half week trial, Mrs Elphicke had appeared to be loyally standing by her husband as the couple arrived at each day holding hands as they faced the a scrum of waiting photographers.
Once inside the building however, they went their separate ways. He went into the court number one where he was being tried. She opted to remain in a room that had been assigned to her so that she could continue with her Parliamentary work.
Mrs Elphicke did not hear a word of the trial as her husband revealed the terrible state of his marriage.
Once the day’s proceedings came to an end, the couple would emerge from the Southwark courthouse together.
From the moment allegations against him emerged, Mrs Elphicke had chosen to publicly stand by him but as he admitted while giving evidence, their marriage is ‘hanging by a thread.’
Sobbing in the witness box, Elphicke confessed: ‘She comes into court with me every day. She’s supporting me throughout proceedings. But things are not good. It hangs by a thread. I’ve got a lot of work to do. She’s most upset that I didn’t tell her at the outset.’
Mrs Elphicke was not in court to hear her husband admit to an affair with another woman who was not one of the complainants.
He told jurors he had a sexual relationship with the woman, from 2015, but had not initially told his wife.
He said: ‘I didn’t know how to explain it to Natalie – it was an emotional attachment (to the other woman). I think she would be very hurt, and I didn’t want that.’
The court heard that he only revealed details of the affair to his wife in March 2018, once rumours began circulating within his constituency.
The court heard how the perverted former politician faced three sexual assault charges against two women.
In 2007 he ‘abused his power’ and plunged his hand down a woman’s blouse after talking ‘suggestively’ about bondage in his £2million London townhouse while his wife was away on business and their two children were asleep next door.
When she tried to flee he chased her around the kitchen trying to grab her bottom while squealing ‘I’m a naughty Tory’ in a scene compared to a Benny Hill sketch.
In April 2016 he groped and tried to kiss a parliamentary worker, half his age, in her early 20s, while out for a drink in Westminster.
A month later he ran his hand up her thigh towards her groin while trying to give her a ‘disgusting, slobbery’ kiss, leaving her terrified and believing she would lose her job if she reported him to the police.
Mrs Elphicke, 49 who is also a trained solicitor only learned of Elphicke’s feelings towards his second victim, a parliamentary worker and that he had propositioned her, while she was going through material for his case.
Elphicke admitted in court that she became ‘very cross with me because she thought I was having an affair.’
The former Conservative MP was told he will be sentenced on September 15 after being convicted at Southwark Crown Court today (pictured with wife Natalie, who has supported him throughout the trial)
Mrs Elphicke said the guilty verdicts gave her sorrow because it meant her marriage was over. Mrs Elphicke refused to be in the court with her husband when he was convicted
In 2007 the perverted former politician had plunged his hand down a woman’s blouse after talking ‘suggestively’ about bondage in his £2million London townhouse (pictured) while his wife was away on business and their two children were asleep next door
She was not in court when her husband admitted he had been ‘besotted’ with the young parliamentary worker he wanted to start an affair with her.
He cried: ‘As the evening wore on, I said to her how much I liked her in many ways and how I had not, er, met someone like her for a very, very long time and how I was clearly liking her a lot.’
Elphicke admitted not telling the truth to police when they asked him about the parliamentary worker.
He said he hadn’t wanted to ‘put my marriage in jeopardy’ and that it would ’cause chaos’.
He later added: ‘I should not have lied to the police, I should have just fronted it up.’
His first victim, a woman in her thirties, broke down in court as she recalled how he attacked her as they shared a bottle of wine at the family’s Belgravia home while Mrs Elphicke was away – six months after she gave birth to their second child.
He asked asked her about her sexual preferences and talked about whips, silk, leather and bondage before forcing an open-mouthed kiss on her and grabbing her breasts.
Breaking down in court, she said: ‘He tried to kiss me and I moved my head, he pushed me down by my shoulders, he had his knee between my legs and he was groping my breast.
‘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. He was following me, it was like a race. I couldn’t understand what was happening.’
She said she phoned her sister to tell her what had happened after fleeing his home, who later told police the episode sounded like ‘a sketch from The Benny Hill Show’.
But after a 2017 news report accused the Dover MP of similar behaviour she realised ‘I need to do my part and I went to police’.
The former Tory whip was also accused of two further sex assaults on the Parliamentary worker nine years after the first attack.
The young staffer explicitly spurned Elphicke’s advances after he shoved his hand down her top and grabbed her breasts.
But he went on to run his hand up her thigh before asking her to rub sunscreen on him and ‘rolling his eyes round’ while telling her he wanted to kiss her.
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.
But she said he assaulted her again the following month when he ran his hand up her thigh towards her groin.
The former MP’s wife Natalie Elphicke (pictured) replaced him as MP for Dover last November. She is now starting a new life
Boris Johnson, centre, speaks with then Charlie Elphicke, left, during a visit to the Port of Dover, which was in his consituency
The woman, who also wept giving evidence, added: ‘I think he thought that if he kept going that I would one day cave. But I wouldn’t.’
The victim said he was known within Parliament as a bullying ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ personality and she had been warned by a friend to stay away from him.
The married father-of-two sobbed through his evidence as he admitted having a two-year affair with a third woman while in the witness box.
He said he slept with his lover three times between 2015 and 2017 but claimed he had never felt a ‘significant attachment’ to her like he had with the young staffer.
The first offence took place in Elphicke’s London home in summer 2007, when he invited a woman in her early 30s to share a drink with him while his children were asleep and his wife was away with work.
The second complainant, a parliamentary worker in her early 20s, said Elphicke also tried to kiss her and then groped her when they met for a drink in Westminster in April 2016.
She said he assaulted her again the following month when he ran his hand up her thigh towards her groin.
Elphicke claimed he was still in the process of trying to salvage his marriage after coming clean about the infidelity.
He claimed that he had lied to police about his attraction to the Parliamentary worker because it would have been the straw that broke the back of his marriage.
The former whip told the court he thought the desire was mutual and believed they were consenting to his advances.
But a jury of 11, comprising eight women and three men, dismissed his claims as lies, finding him guilty of three sexual assaults with unanimous verdicts.
Natalie Dawson, CPS Specialist Prosecutor, said: ‘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.’
Metropolitan Police Detective Sergeant Michael McInerney, who gave evidence in the trial, said upon verdict: ‘These were alarming, distressing incidents for both women and I would like to acknowledge their courage in reporting the incidents and co-operating with the police investigation.
‘Elphicke was persistent in his sexual advances and showed a lack of self-restraint and regard for the women, whose emotional wellbeing and professional lives were affected by what happened.
‘Victims of non-recent sexual offences should not be deterred from reporting what happened to them to police.
‘Specially trained investigators will investigate the claims and seek prosecutions where possible, whilst providing all the necessary support for victims.’
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.
Dressed in a dark blue suit, Elphicke stared somberly at the floor as a jury of nine men and three women returned their verdicts.
Elphicke appeared stunned as Mrs Justice Whipple warned him a custodial sentence is ‘still on the table’ when he returns for sentencing.
Elphicke 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.
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.
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News – ‘Naughty Tory’ Charlie Elphicke is found guilty of three sex attacks