Alun Cairns Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has been cleared of breaching the ministerial code

A ministerial inquiry clearing former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns of misconduct over the “sabotage” of a rape trial by his aide has been dismissed as “a sham” by the victim.

“Lucy” told BBC News she had not been contacted during the investigation.

Mr Cairns resigned from the cabinet last year over allegations he knew Ross England had broken a judge’s ruling by making claims about her sexual history.

The Tory MP said he was “extremely sorry for the trauma” she had faced.

The Cabinet Office, which carried out the inquiry, has not yet responded to request for comment.

‘Brazen lies’

In April 2018, at the trial of his friend James Hackett, who had raped Lucy, Mr England told Cardiff Crown Court he had had a casual sexual relationship with her himself.

He said: “I was worried about her because we’d had casual sex on… two occasions, one of which was group sex.”

This evidence was not permissible in court, although Mr England denies knowing this when he gave evidence.

The judge said he had no doubt this had been a deliberate attempt to sabotage the trial.

Lucy told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “He just lied so brazenly and I just thought, ‘This man feels like he’s untouchable and he was made to feel like that by the Conservative Party.'”

Mr England has since said in a statement he had not been told “that anything had been ruled inadmissible prior to my testimony”.

“I gave an honest answer, honouring the oath I took to tell the truth,” he added.

Image caption Ross England gave a speech at the Welsh Conservatives’ conference in 2016

Mr Cairns resigned as Welsh secretary last November over claims he had endorsed Mr England as a candidate for the Welsh assembly despite knowing he had collapsed the trial.

Mr Cairns denies he knew about it.

BBC News had discovered an email sent on 2 August 2018 to Mr Cairns by Geraint Evans, his special adviser.

It said: “I have spoken to Ross and he is confident no action will be taken by the court.”

Mr Cairns has since been cleared of breaking the ministerial code, by a government investigation.

The investigator explained those involved said they had not informed Mr Cairns of Mr England’s role and there was “no direct evidence to contradict this”.

But Lucy told Victoria Derbyshire no attempt had been made to speak to her.

“The whole thing feels like a sham,” she said.

“What kind of investigation doesn’t contact the person who is most affected?”

‘Smear campaign’

Mr Cairns had previously appointed Mr England to work as his campaign manager, in the same office as Lucy – who also worked for the MP.

She claimed she warned Mr Cairns she would leave her job if he appointed Mr England.

Lucy told the BBC as soon as she reported the rape to police she had been subjected to a “campaign of hatred” from members of the Tory Party, for having “the gall to tell the police what happened”.

She was raped as she slept at a house party held by Mr England and his girlfriend Kathryn Kelloway.

“When I woke up I was being attacked, basically,” she told Victoria Derbyshire.

“Eventually, I managed to fight him off and run downstairs, where I told a friend.”

Hackett was convicted at a subsequent trial and jailed for five years.

Lucy alleges that on the night of the rape, Ms Kelloway had shouted at police that she was making it up.

“That just set the tone for the next two years,” she told the programme.

“It was a complete smear campaign.

“They were trying to spread it, about certain people that I’d slept with and therefore if I slept around to this degree, then I must have deserved what happened.

“They were trying to say I’d lied about other things, I’ve made stuff up about other women, and therefore if I can make that up, I must be making this up.”

Ms Kelloway, a Conservative counsellor, denied “any wrongdoing whatsoever”.

“I have told nothing but the truth throughout, including to the police and in court [as a prosecution witness],” she added.

‘Extremely sorry’

Lucy told Victoria Derbyshire the Conservative Party had a lot of work to do to make it a safe environment for young women to work in.

“They just didn’t have any respect for me, what I was going through,” she said.

“It definitely felt like members of Conservative Party were putting me on trial.”

The Conservative Party in Wales said in a statement: “We are deeply sorry for the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the trial and the deep distress this must have caused the victim.”

Mr Cairns said he was “extremely sorry for the trauma and suffering Lucy has faced”.

“I believed that my parliamentary staff and I had supported her in a caring and compassionate way throughout,” he said.

“Lucy recognised this in messages received at the time.”

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