A former MP agreed to pay a woman £5,000 after allegedly sexually assaulting her to prevent his wife from finding out, a court heard.
Charlie Elphicke said it was the complainant’s demand to be paid “compensation” after the alleged incident at his home in London in 2007.
Mr Elphicke, 49, said he believed the woman “wanted to take matters further” after they shared a bottle of wine.
At Southwark Crown Court he denies three counts of sexual assault.
Mr Elphicke and the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, drank together while Mrs Elphicke was away on business.
He said he had been “under a misapprehension” in making advances towards her.
‘Groped and chased’
The woman, in her early-30s at the time, alleged Mr Elphicke tried to kiss her, groped her breast, then chased her around his home while trying to grab her buttocks.
Excerpts from Mr Elphicke’s interview with police in March 2018 were played in front of a jury.
In them he said the woman asked him not to tell his wife about the 2007 incident and to pay her £5,000.
He said: “I got it [the £5,000] in smaller amounts – £500, £1,000 – because she was insistent Natalie shouldn’t know.”
Asked if he had ever told his wife about the payments, Mr Elphicke told police: “No.”
He also described how the first alleged incident happened and said that he stopped immediately when the woman told him to.
He said: “The atmosphere was very warm and convivial and I believed she wanted to take matters further.
“I leaned over and kissed her.
“At first she responded positively, then it became clear it was not what she wanted.”
He said: “I was incredibly apologetic. I believed this was what she wanted.
“She said she accepted my explanation, my apology, and that I had been under a misapprehension.”
The trial continues.