UK & World News

  • 12 March 2014, 15:48

Nigel Evans Sex Trial: 'Fracas After Assault'

A former Conservative councillor has told Preston Crown Court he had to help physically restrain the former deputy speaker Nigel Evans to stop him indecently assaulting a man during a party conference.

Jurors heard Mark Formosa was drinking in the No. 10 bar of Blackpool's Imperial Hotel in 2003 when he saw Mr Evans getting closer and closer to a younger man.

They were told a fracas broke out when the MP had to be pulled off the man after putting his hand down the front of his trousers.

"I saw the younger man thrashing about wildly from side to side, trying to wrench himself free from Evans' grip," Mr Formosa said.

Evans, 56, is on trial accused of one count of rape, two of indecent assault and six of sexual assault.

He denies the charges, which are dated between 2002 and 2013

Mr Formosa dismissed suggestions from defence barrister Peter Wright QC he was making up his evidence "on the basis of gossip and rumour within Conservative circles".

When told "the incident you describe did not take place", he replied: "It most certainly did."

Mr Wright then asked: "Is it that you just jumped on the bandwagon?"

"That just is not true," replied Mr Formosa, who insisted his account was not a "fabrication" and that he was not, as Mr Wright claimed, "enjoying a moment in the spotlight".

The next witness, Conor Burns MP, told the court he remembered being told about the incident and subsequently offering Mr Evans, then the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, some advice.

"I suggested it was very late and it might be a good idea if he called it a day," he said.

Mr Burns told jurors he later had a conversation with Evans about his ambition to become deputy speaker.

He said he suggested he spend more time with colleagues and less with Commons researchers, who "sometimes have elevated views of themselves" and did not have votes.

Another Conservative MP, Mark Hoban, said the alleged victim of the Blackpool bar assault had complained to him about it the following day.

Mr Hoban, who was an opposition whip at the time, said he reported the matter to Chief Whip David Maclean MP.

The trial continues.

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