A former Conservative MP sexually assaulted two women nearly a decade apart in “almost identical” circumstances while his wife was away from home, a court has heard.
Charlie Elphicke, who represented Dover and Deal from 2010 until 2019, has repeatedly denied groping two women, trying to kiss them and then describing himself as “naughty”.
The first incident is said to have involved a woman in her early 30s who was invited to share a drink with Elphicke at his London home in 2007.
The second complainant was in her 20s when Elphicke is alleged to have propositioned and groped her in Westminster in April 2016. She also accused him of running his hand up her leg in a separate incident the following month.
Cross-examining Elphicke at Southwark crown court, Eloise Marshall QC, prosecuting, said of the second complainant’s evidence: “She appears to be telling lies about you which are almost identical to nine years earlier [involving the woman in her 30s]. Is it an incredible coincidence these two women are making up – according to you – exactly the same lie?”
Elphicke replied: “I cannot account for what they are saying. I can say I did not sexually assault either of these women.”
Giving evidence for a second day, Elphicke, 49, told the jury that he had not been attracted to the woman in her 30s, but he had wanted to “have a physical relationship” with the second complainant.
He said he invited the woman for a drink and told her he liked her, thinking their feelings were “a two-way street”.
Elphicke said: “I said to [the woman] 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.”
His defence counsel, Ian Winter QC, asked: “How did you feel about her?” Elphicke replied: “Besotted. I thought she was just amazing. I hadn’t felt like this in years. I thought it was a two-way street and she felt the same about me as I did about her.”
The woman did not feel the same way, the court heard, although Elphicke said he did not initially receive an answer after he propositioned her.
He said: “It was left out there and not answered, really. I thought she was thinking about it.”
The court heard that Elphicke invited the woman to his London home one day and spent hours waiting for her but she did not show up, leaving Elphicke to feel “like a complete idiot”.
This was despite the woman having told him some time after the drink in April that she did not want a relationship. However, he said he was given cause to believe she might have changed her mind when she sent him messages signed off with “kiss”.
“I was quite hopeful,” he said. “You can’t switch your feelings off like a tap.”
The court previously heard how Elphicke allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in her 30s while his wife, Natalie Elphicke, now his successor as MP for Dover and Deal, was away in 2007.
The woman said Elphicke kissed her, groped her and then chased her around his home shouting “I’m a naughty Tory”.
Elphicke said he kissed the woman under a “misapprehension” after they had fed each other chocolate stars and she had become “tactile”, but he denied groping her.
The former MP, who is a father of two, also told jurors he had lied to his wife, lied to police, and had an affair with a third woman who is not a complainant in this case.
Elphicke denies three counts of sexual assault. The trial continues.