Published: 13:53, 30 July 2020
| Updated: 12:25, 31 July 2020
The wife of disgraced former MP Charlie Elphicke has left him.
Natalie Elphicke, who succeeded him as MP for Dover and Deal, tweeted: "Today’s verdict is one that brings profound sorrow. It ends my 25 year marriage to the only man I have ever loved."
Elphicke, 49, denied all three allegations of sexual assault but was found guilty this afternoon and now faces jail.
Ms Elphicke added: "I would ask for some personal space and time to come to terms with the shocking events of the last 3 years.
"I will not be commenting further."
The trial began at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, July 6 and the jury retired on Tuesday.
The charges related to one incident in 2007 where Elphicke is alleged to have chased a victim while chanting "I'm a naughty Tory" in a singsong voice.
The second complainant claimed Elphicke had groped her breast and ran his hand up her leg in separate incidents in 2016.
Earlier in the trial, the MP said he was “in complete shock” told by a colleague of the complaints against him.
He said he was called to a meeting with Anne Milton, deputy chief whip at the time, after she had been informed of allegations against him in 2016.
Elphicke, 49, said the incidents did not happen. In a recording of police questioning from March 2018 played to the trial, Elphicke told officers: “I would have spent most of the interview in complete shock with allegations being made against me.
“I had no notice about any of the allegations and I had no legal representation.”
Jurors heard that Elphicke told police he was accompanied by former attorney general Dominic Grieve for a second meeting with Mrs Milton, in which Mr Grieve apparently “castigated” the whips for the way their investigation into Elphicke was conducted.
He's earlier told the court his marriage was "hanging by a thread" due to the case and also the revelation in the build up to the trial that he had been involved in an affair.
After a day-and-a-half of deliberations Elphicke was found guilty of all three counts. He will be sentenced on September 15.
As the verdict of the jury of eight women and three men was read, Elphicke let out a sigh and glanced across at his counsel.
Natalie, later left the court on her own in a taxi. She made no comment.
Judge Mrs Justice Whipple said: “All options remain on sentencing including the possibility of immediate custodial sentence.”
Elphicke will remain on bail with the addition of a condition that he stays at the same address.
The married father-of-two was suspended as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury - also known as a government whip - on November 3, 2017, after the allegations were made to police.
But, on December 12, 2018, the Conservative whip was reinstated before a confidence vote in Theresa May before, once again, being withdrawn in July when he was charged.
The constituency conservative association has come out in support of Mrs Elphicke.
Keith Single, chairman of Dover & Deal Conservative Association, said: "This was a legal matter and as an association our focus has always been on supporting our candidate and councillors to try to deliver a brighter future for Dover & Deal.
"In that regard the only thing I want to say is that Natalie retains our full support. She has an incredibly impressive professional background and has done an excellent job since becoming MP.
"She was was of course strongly endorsed by both our members and the wider public locally.
"I think everyone should Natalie a bit of space to reflect on what must be an immensely difficult time for her and her family.
"She has shown us many times what a strong character she is and I have no doubt she'll be back soon fighting tirelessly for her community again."
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency Charlotte Cornell said after the verdict: "A lot of the stories today will focus on Mr Elphicke, but we need to remember the victims and how their lives and careers have been changed by these assaults. The women involved in this case have been very brave.
"Those who hold positions of power and trust, are held to the same standards of British justice as the rest of us; yet, when MPs commit crimes, lie to police and hide evidence from those they love, it is all the worse knowing that tens of thousands of people once placed their trust in that same individual."
More by this authorEd McConnell
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