Nigel Evans says he is owed £130,000 after ‘witch-hunt’ case cost him his life savings

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MP Nigel Evans, who was acquitted on all rape and sexual assault charges on Thursday, has said the Crown Prosecution Service should pay his £130,000 legal bill after costing him his life savings.

The former deputy speaker, who remains an independent MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was found not guilty after a trial at Preston Crown Court on Thursday.

Speaking to the the Mail on Sunday, he said the case had cost him his life savings.

He said: “Every penny is gone. In addition to the £30,000-a-year additional parliamentary salary I was paid as Deputy Speaker.

“If someone is dragged through the courts through no fault of their own and is acquitted they should get their legal fees back from the CPS budget.

“Maybe that will make them focus on whether a case is worth pursuing.”

He also compared the case to a “very public execution attempt.”

“I live over there in the foothills of Pendle Hill which was known for one thing: witch-hunts,” he said.

“The witches of Pendle were captured there, transported to Lancaster and executed in public. That is how I feel.”

He added he had even considered suicide in his “darkest moments” since the allegations against him were made.

“The pressure and despair were so great,” he said. “Everything had gone that was dear to me. The moment you get out of bed you are hit by an Eddie Stobart truck over and again, every day.”

“We need to consider the issue of a statute of limitations and look at how other countries deal with this.”

Mr Evans always maintained his innocence. Speaking outside the court he said: “I’ve gone through 11 months of hell”.

The 56-year-old, who was born in Swansea and lives in Pendleton, Lancashire, became deputy speaker in June 2010, a politically neutral role.

The MP resigned as deputy speaker in September last year after being charged.

He was elected as a Tory MP in 1992.

Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested MP Nigel Evans could retake the Tory whip, following his acquittal on all rape and sexual assault charges.

Mr Cameron said: “It is hard to imagine the relief that Nigel must feel after such a traumatic time. I very much welcome what he said on the steps of the court and I think everyone should pay heed to that.

“I’m sure he will want to get on with working with his constituents in the Ribble Valley and, as for the future, I’m sure it’s something he’ll be discussing with the Chief Whip when he returns to Parliament.”