Ex-Tory Minister ‘Raped And Abused’ His MP Wife Using ‘Coercive, Controlling Behaviour', Rules Court
10:16 GMT 11.12.2021 (Updated: 10:21 GMT 11.12.2021)
Disgraced former Tory MP for Burton-upon-Trent and minister for small business Andrew Griffiths was forced to resign in July 2018 after he was found to have sent "vile" and "disgusting" text messages of a sexual nature to two female constituents.
Former Conservative minister Andrew Griffiths is found to have raped and abused his ex-wife during their marriage, a UK high court has revealed.
In a judgement by a family court judge at a private trial, published
on Friday, Griffiths is detailed to have raped his former spouse Kate Griffiths, now the Conservative MP for Burton, Staffordshire, when she was asleep “on a number of occasions”, while also physically assaulting and verbally abusing her to ensure she submitted to his sexual demands.
Judge Elizabeth Williscroft concluded that Andrew Griffiths used “coercive and controlling behaviour”, hitting his spouse, pushing her into a wall, spitting at her and throwing a tray of food over her. He is also said to have threatened to make her homeless or leave her without financial means.
All these allegations were previously vehemently denied by Andrew Griffiths, who had previously been embroiled in a sex scandal involving sending "depraved" messages to two women constituents.
Kate Griffiths originally laid out the allegations against her estranged husband in a Family Court case in 2019 in Derby. A judge had been overseeing an application by Andrew Griffiths arguing for improved child visitation rights to his daughter. The couple, who had a daughter, had separated in 2018.
Kate Griffiths had objected and testified that her husband had subjected her to repeated rape and physical and sexual abuse, requesting the judge to make findings of fact. While ruling the findings in favour of Ms Griffiths, the judge had decided at the time that they should not be made public to protect the child at the heart of the dispute.
However, after two journalists, which included one from the PA news agency, learned about the case and argued that the public had a right to know the findings, a more senior High Court judge ruled that the couple be named. A Judge based in the Family Division of the High Court heard the journalists’ application, supported by Kate Griffiths herself, at a private hearing in London and ruled in their favour. Andrew Griffiths challenged this ruling and asked Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.
On 10 December three appeal judges dismissed the ex-minister’s appeal, deciding that original findings of the case could be made public. Kate Griffiths welcomed the decision.
“I supported publication of the family court’s findings – and waived my right to anonymity – because I recognise the unique position I am in to campaign to improve the outcomes of cases such as this, for those who endure domestic violence, and the actions taken to protect the children involved,” she stated.
She did not clarify whether any criminal complaint had been made.
When appearing in court, Andrew Griffiths had insisted that events dating to his childhood had caused a breakdown. These claims were similar to those Griffiths had used in his defence after he was reported to have bombarded a 28-year-old barmaid and her friend with lewd comments over social media.
On 14 July 2018, the Sunday Mirror reported
that Griffiths had sent almost 2,000 sexually explicit texts to the women in question. In the wake of the ensuing scandal, he quit his ministerial position and was suspended by the Conservative Party.
In an interview with the The Sunday Times in November 2018 Griffiths said that the texts were "the result of my mental breakdown" following a "battle with my own mental health". The latter was reportedly due to his being allegedly abused at the age of eight by a fifteen-year-old boy. In late 2018 Griffiths had his Tory whip restored in a move that was broadly censured
Griffiths was subsequently cleared of breaching the House of Commons' code of conduct by the parliamentary standards watchdog.
In November 2019, Andrew Griffiths stepped down as an MP saying he would back his wife to succeed him.
Kate Griffiths was subsequently elected as Tory MP for Burton in East Staffordshire.