FORMER deputy speaker Nigel Evans has told a jury of his "absolute hell" after being accused of a string of sex assaults.
The MP's voice trembled with emotion as he spoke of his embarrassment and shock at being treated as a suspect and having his private life laid bare.
Mr Evans, 56, was asked by his defence barrister Peter Wright QC, what it was like as an MP after being arrested and put in cells awaiting questioning.
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The MP told Preston Crown Court: "Awful. It's difficult to put into words, Mr Wright. It's hell. Absolute hell. I've had 10 months of these allegations starting with that knock on the door. To have yourself sullied in that way is awful."
Mr Evans is on trial over allegations he sexually abused seven men on dates between 2002 and last year, often while drunk.
The MP for Ribble Valley, Lancashire, who was first arrested in May 2013, has pleaded not guilty to one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault.
Mr Wright asked the MP how he felt about the public airing of details of his personal life, including having homosexual sex with a student.
Mr Evans said: "It's incredibly difficult. My colleagues were superb, my family and friends were tremendous, but at times I could not read the newspapers."
Mr Wright later asked him: "Did you force yourself on anybody?"
"No," said the MP.
The barrister went on: "Did you persist when anybody told you to stop?" Mr Evans said: "No I did not."
The trial continues.