Published: 14:20, 15 September 2020
| Updated: 14:48, 15 September 2020
The judge sentencing disgraced former MP Charlie Elphicke has branded him a "sexual predator" who "used his success and respectability as a cover."
Handing the former Dover politician a two-year jail sentence , Mrs Justice Whipple described how the 49-year-old lured his victims into a "false sense of security with wine and chat" before "attacking them without warning".
She also ordered Elphicke to pay £35,000 towards the prosecutions costs within 12 months, but no compensation to his victims.
The father of two, whose wife left him on the day of his conviction , was found guilty last month of sexual assaults on two women, one aged in her 20s and the other in her 30s.
Both women were known to him but cannot be identified for legal reasons. They are referred to as A and B.
Mrs Justice Whipple said: "Both women described very similar and shocking assaults on them. Their victim impact statements demonstrate the lasting damage done to their confidence and trust in others by your offending.
"You are a sexual predator who used your success and respectability as a cover.
"In each case you abused their trust in you to impose on them sexually.
"A and B both trusted you. But you got them alone with you, lured them into a false sense of security with wine and work chat, and then attacked them without warning, trying to kiss them, grabbing their breasts, trapping them beneath you.
She continued: "Then you treated what you did as a joke, saying of yourself that you were “naughty” in an attempt to trivialise your actions.
"You suggested to each woman that this was something they wanted, that they had encouraged, that they had enjoyed. That was not true. They had not encouraged you or led you on.
"Your behaviour was also an abuse of power. You knew they were unlikely to complain.
"In fact, neither of them did complain to start with.
"B was silent because she was worried that you would jeopardise her career if she offended you. (She was right; you did try to do that.)
"So, their disclosures only came later, in the face of other events.
"You required both women to come to court and give evidence about the assaults you had made on them. That was not easy for them and they displayed great courage.
"They told the truth. You told a pack of lies, not just to the jury, but as became clear, to your wife, the whips and the police as well."
When sentencing, Mrs Whipple said she took into consideration Elphicke's responsibility for his 13-year-old son who she was told would "suffer if he was not present day to day."
She added: "I accept that you have lost a good career, your reputation and future prospects.
"I note from Dr Fieldman’s report that you are undergoing psychotherapy and that you have accepted some responsibility for your actions.
"I accept from the Pre-Sentence Report that you have expressed remorse, and that you are not likely to offend again, but I reject the author’s views of your conduct and motivation which in my judgment underplay the seriousness of these offences."
"You told a pack of lies, not just to the jury, but as became clear, to your wife, the whips and the police as well..."
Elphicke's trial started at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, July 6 and the jury retired on Tuesday, July 28 to start their deliberations.
After a day-and-a-half of deliberations Elphicke was found guilty of all three counts.
One charge related to an incident in 2007 where Elphicke chased a victim around his Westminster home while chanting "I'm a naughty Tory" in a singsong voice.
The woman, who was in her 30s at the time and known to Elphicke, contacted police about the incident in November 2017.
The second complainant, aged in her 20s, was groped on her breast by the former MP, who also ran his hand up her leg. The assaults happened during separate incidents in 2016.
Watch: KMTV's report on the verdict
Elphicke will serve up to half of his two-year sentence before being released on licence.
He will automatically be subject to notification requirements, requiring him to inform police of specified information for 10 years.
He has announced he will appeal against the conviction, adding he was “innocent of any criminal wrongdoing”.
Reacting to today's sentencing, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Dover and Deal, Charlotte Cornell said: "I welcome the custodial sentence imposed today. No one, whether in positions of power or not, is ever above the law.
"Mr Elphicke's victims are brave women, who have had their lives changed forever; I am hopeful that other women and men who have also been abused by people in positions of power and trust, will feel emboldened to come forward, knowing that British justice can deliver outcomes for them that reflect the seriousness of the crime."