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'Victims' did not want MP to face trial over assault claims

THREE men who prosecutors say were sexually assaulted by MP Nigel Evans did not consider themselves victims of any offence, a jury has heard.

None of them wanted to make a complaint about the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons to the police, who in each of their cases contacted them.

One said he forgave Mr Evans's alleged advances and said he had not expected "in a million years" to find himself in court giving evidence.

He compared Mr Evans's alleged actions more than a decade ago to "a drunken 14-year-old-old at a disco who could not chat you up with words".

The alleged victim went on to email his support to the Ribble Valley MP when he was initially arrested last year on an allegation of rape and told him: "Stay strong." Another told the court of how he too could not believe he was in the witness box and told detectives he did not want Mr Evans to be charged as he did not think there were "any grounds" to do so.

Mr Evans, 56, is on trial at Preston Crown Court over claims he used his "powerful" political influence to take sexual advantage of seven young men.

He denies one rape, two indecent assaults and six sexual assaults said to have taken place on various dates between 2002 and last year.

It was said he had the "ability to make or break" careers and assaulted the alleged victims in his home, House of Commons bars and his office.

The first three of the seven alleged victims gave their evidence yesterday.

A gay Westminster worker spoke of how Evans put his hand down his trousers in a London Soho bar in early 2003 but dismissed the incident as "just Nigel being drunken Nigel".

Peter Wright QC, defending Evans, asked him: "Never for a moment would you have considered that what took place in that bar would have resulted in you appearing in court today."

"Not in a million years," he replied.

He said he did not see himself as a victim of crime.

The trial continues.

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