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MP's aide cleared of rape in Commons office

By Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporter
A Tory MP's chief of staff wiped tears from his eyes as he was cleared of raping a young parliamentary assistant in his boss's office.
Samuel Armstrong, 24, was acquitted after being accused of attacking the woman when she fell asleep following a night of drinking in the Houses of Parliament.
The complainant, who is in her 20s, said she "felt like a hostage" and claimed she was raped twice by Mr Armstrong, a senior aide for South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay.But Mr Armstrong, of Danbury in Essex, insisted they had consensual sex.The pair drank in a bar on the parliamentary estate and watched Big Ben chime on its terrace on the evening of 13 October 2016, the trial heard.The court was told that they then went back to Mr Mackinlay's office, where prosecutors alleged Mr Armstrong "abused his position".
MP's aide cleared of rape in Commons office

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CCTV pictures showed the woman running through Parliament
He was arrested after CCTV pictures showed the woman running through the corridors of Westminster in tears in the early hours of the following day.On Thursday, a jury of five men and seven women found him not guilty on two counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration.The two-week trial at Southwark Crown Court concluded after the jury took more than five hours to return verdicts.Mr Armstrong had tears in his eyes as he left the dock to be comforted by his father.
His boss, Mr Mackinlay, had previously told the court he and his aide were like "father and son".The politics and history graduate from Nottingham University said the allegations had cost him his "dream job", adding he would "never, ever, ever" get his career back.
MP's aide cleared of rape in Commons office

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Craig Mackinlay said their relationship was like 'father and son'
Speaking outside court, Mr Armstrong said: "My whole life has been turned upside down. For a year I have not slept or eaten, and I was innocent."Were it not for the fact that crucial evidence was disclosed to my defence team just eight working days before trial, there could well have been yet another miscarriage of justice in this case."Mr Armstrong and his lawyers refused to elaborate on what evidence he was referring to, but the court heard the woman at first refused to let police access her mobile phone and medical records.In messages recovered from the device, she said she had contacted a journalist hours after the alleged attack to get a "sympathetic" portrayal of her story.
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Her medical notes contained details of a history of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.Mr Armstrong has been suspended from his job in the wake of the allegations coming out.
news.sky.com
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