Lawyer said not to contact police over abuse allegations, ex-wife of MP reveals

The ex-wife of a former Conservative minister who was found to have raped and physically abused her has said that a solicitor originally advised her not to go to the police with her allegations.

Conservative MP Kate Kniveton has spoken out after a High Court judge ruled that Andrew Griffiths will have no direct contact with his child in the “reasonably short term”.

Mr Griffiths, former MP for Burton, was previously found to have pressurised Ms Kniveton into engaging in sexual activity as well as raping her multiple times.

In a 2021 ruling, Judge Elizabeth Williscroft also found Mr Griffiths had assaulted and used “coercive and controlling behaviour” against Ms Kniveton, who is now the MP for the same constituency.

Mr Griffiths denies the rape allegations.

Kate and Andrew Griffiths court case
Andrew Griffiths arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice (Aaron Chown/PA)

Speaking to Channel 4 News about her experience, Ms Kniveton explained why she had not taken her allegations to the police or through the criminal courts.

She said: “I remember very clearly a solicitor – right back at the beginning saying to me when I said ‘I need to report this to the police’ – they said to me, not my current solicitor, ‘You must not do that Kate’.

“I said ‘But why not, he’s done this to me’.

“And they said ‘Because we will lose control of the case’. I’d never had any dealings with solicitors or courts so I took that advice and I didn’t do it. But it’s not something that I’ve ruled out for the future.”

In a statement, Mr Griffith called the ruling a “complete travesty” and said the family court system had been used to run a “political campaign”.

He had sought weekly supervised contact with their child, who he previously saw once per week via videolink for 30 minutes.

In the interview, Ms Kniveton said: “I remember very clearly the first time he physically attacked me was in 2011. He’d brought me down to London; we’d gone to a St Patrick’s Day celebration at The Grosvenor. He’d had quite a lot to drink, we’d had a lovely evening, and I remember going back up to the bedroom before he did.

“He came into the bedroom and he just flew at me. He pinned me against the wall by my throat and was ranting and raving at me and I was in absolute shock. I’d never experienced anything like that in my life before. And I can remember the next day nothing was mentioned about it.”

She described another alleged incident: “I remember the next incident was only a couple of months later at home. We were at home, watching television; we’d had a meal.

“I can’t remember what the discussion was but again I remember him suddenly getting up, getting on top of me on the sofa, and again pinning me by my throat onto the sofa.

“And I quite clearly remember at that point, all I could think about was my parents, because I thought that was it. I really thought ‘My time was up – he’s going to finish me off’.

“And then he suddenly stopped. I don’t know what made him stop, but he stopped. And I jumped up and I ran to get my car keys and get out of the house.

“And he ran after me and after he ran towards me, he swung for me. And I remember very clearly because I had hoop earrings on and he caught one of them and ripped my earlobe and I think that’s what stopped him in his tracks because I do remember him saying ‘Oh, god’.”

She said it was a “huge relief” to have the legal proceedings finished, in an interview alongside her lawyer Dr Charlotte Proudman.

In a statement, Mr Griffiths said: ““Every other child in the country would be protected by the anonymity of the family court.

“At my ex-wife’s request, the court chose to remove that protection and to put our child through the lifelong consequences of this being played out in the glare of the national media.”

He accused his ex-wife of employing a “radical barrister” and said she had forced the pair to spend more than £300,000 in court fees.

He added: “This is a complete travesty for our child who will be stopped from seeing a loving father they have a happy and strong relationship with.

“It only demonstrates how ridiculous this process is that the court believes all of this personal misery can be exposed in the television shows such as this but also thinks that banning the press from saying whether our child is a boy or a girl will somehow protect them from that publicity.

“The family court has been used to run a political campaign and to gain publicity rather than putting the best interests of our child first. The loser is our child, with whom I have a loving and meaningful relationship. The courts have badly let down our child and we will all have to live with the consequences.

“For my family this decision hurts like a bereavement – we are losing a child that is loved more than anything in the world.”

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