‘Sexual predator’: Former Tory MP ‘can’t afford legal costs’ and living on benefits

Charlie Elphicke, the disgraced former Tory MP, has stated that he is unable to pay £35,000 in court fees because he is jobless and on Universal Credit.

In September 2020, the former Dover MP was sentenced to two years in jail on three charges of sexual assault against two women.

Elphicke was characterised as a “sexual predator” who used his “success and respectability as a cover” and uttered a “pack of lies” by the sentencing judge.

Jurors were told that he had inquired about bondage and sex with one of his victims, then kissed and touched her breast before chasing her around his house while shouting, “I’m a naughty Tory.”

Elphicke, 50, was freed earlier this year after serving less than half of his sentence, but sentencing judge Mrs Justice Whipple ordered him to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs within one year.

His attorney, Ian Winter QC, said that his client was “in debt” and that his estranged wife, Natalie Elphicke, who is now the Member of Parliament for Dover, lent him £100,000 to cover legal expenses.

Speaking at the hearing, Mr Elphicke said his life had become “very difficult” and was in an “embarrassed position”. He pleaded with magistrated to “give me time to the end of my sentence to get myself back on my feet”.

The court heard Elphicke received £51,000 from the sale of his marital home, but most of the money has been used “in legal fees and to pay rent”.

He said he had paid six months’ rent up front for a one-bedroom flat, valued online at nearly £475,000, in Fulham, south-west London, adding: “That is why I have very limited cash to meet my living expenses.”

“I have made a claim for Universal Credit that is currently being processed, ” he told the court. “They are going to come back to me on December 12 to make sure I can pay the rent in an ongoing way.”

He offered to pay just £1 a month towards legal costs but this was rejected. “I have no job, I have no career, I am long-term unemployed,” said Elphicke.

“I am working with the job centre and my probation officer to find a new career. I have made a claim for Universal Credit. I am separated from my wife who has filed for divorce. I have had to find a new place to live.”

An investigation by the Commons Standards Committee found that five Conservatives, including Mr Elpickes wife Natalie, guilty of breaching the code of conduct over an “egregious” attempt to influence his legal proceedings.

The case was adjourned until December 17, to allow time for his for Universal Credit claim to be assesed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Chair of the bench Andrew Gell said: “It does not seem clear as what will be possible over the next 12 months so I think we wait until Universal Credit has been done, adjourning the matter until that has been completed and look at the matter again.”

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