The dinner afterwards at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Birmingham offered the leadership and rank and file the opportunity to have a drink, relax and mingle.
The meal was a largely jolly affair, accompanied as it was by a fundraising auction that – this being Ukip – included such desirable items as tea bags in a fancy box and a woven silk portrait of the Queen.
“This was a gathering that featured little of the bombast and none of the slickness of the larger parties’ shindigs,” reported one commentator at the time.
The Crowne Plaza hotel in Birmingham (Alamy)
Yet 10 months on, the repercussions of that night’s events are still being felt.
A female activist has claimed that, amid the frivolity of the evening, she had been subjected to a “brutal assault” by a senior figure in Young Independence, Ukip’s youth wing. She said her drink had been spiked and her dress “ripped down”. She had been spat on, called a “whore”, then photographed in a state of undress to ensure her silence.
The claims finally became public two weeks ago when The Telegraph’s Mandrake column reported some of the details, leaving Ukip open to possible criticism of effectively covering up a crime by not calling in the police.
Last week, Ukip responded by passing to this newspaper a dossier detailing the claims and counter-claims for what happened that night and in the weeks and months following.
What is not contested is that the alleged incident followed the gala dinner on Friday Sept 21, presided over by Mr Farage and the party’s chairman, Steve Crowther. The alleged victim had been placed at a prominent table by Lisa Duffy, Ukip’s party director.
The events that followed are murkier and disputed. At the heart of the case is the woman’s claim – made 12 days after the conference ended – that she had been subjected to a violent assault after her drink had been spiked.
She made the allegations in a number of emails to Miss Duffy and, as a result, the party opened an internal investigation conducted by Michael Greaves, one of its most senior officials. Mr Greaves is Ukip’s general secretary, but also a lawyer with experience at the International Criminal Court.
Last week he released to The Sunday Telegraph a report he had compiled on the case, based on the alleged victim’s emails, an interview with one of the alleged attackers and eyewitness accounts. He did not interview the woman either face-to-face or by telephone.
Mr Greaves has also written a separate, longer account for Mr Farage and Ukip officials.
In the version handed to this newspaper, he concluded that the “matter had no legs whatsoever”. After interviewing or taking statements from, among others, Mr Farage’s wife, Kirsten, Mr Greaves felt that the alleged victim’s story contained contradictions that did not stand up to wider scrutiny.
He said that she had been drinking so heavily “she must have been close to causing herself ill-health” and that the day after the attack she “is seen to be in perfectly good nick”, casting doubt on her memory of events and her claim to have been traumatised.
Mr Greaves’s report outlines events from the beginning of the evening of the gala dinner. By then, according to the Ukip account, the alleged victim had already caused a stir.
Mrs Farage had witnessed the woman “coming on strongly” to her husband. The woman, who according to witnesses was “very drunk”, is alleged to have invited Mr Farage back to her room before she was escorted from the party leader’s presence. Mr Farage had “politely declined” her offer.
With dinner over, many of the activists went on to a party hosted by Paul Staines, better known as Guido Fawkes, the political blogger. The woman went too.
Mr Greaves wrote in his report: “C [the alleged victim] was again seen by KF [Kirsten Farage] who saw that she was still very very drunk. KF indicates that she continued to drink prodigiously, perhaps 10 further glasses of wine.”
He added: “It is after this period of alcohol consumption that C claims that she was assaulted by having her dress ripped, that she was spat upon and was photographed. One of those involved with her called her a whore.”
The next day, according to the Ukip account, the woman appeared to have made a remarkable recovery. Mrs Farage and Miss Duffy both gave evidence that she was “chatting, laughing and smoking” outside the conference venue and did not look “particularly traumatised”.
Four days later, on Wednesday Sept 26, the woman wrote to Miss Duffy thanking her for seating her at the table, saying: “I am really impressed with the direction that Ukip is taking.”
Eight days on, her tone had changed. In a second email to Miss Duffy, she laid out what she then recalled had happened to her.
“Two of your Young Independence members physically assaulted me quite brutally outside the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham on the gala night,” she wrote.
“I also realise that one of my drinks was spiked and the effects of this lasted two days, including loss of vision which was terrifying and loss of memory which unfortunately for me returned this week. I’ve been really traumatised by this and am not wishing to take things further due to threats being made against me.”
Two days later on Oct 6, the woman wrote again: “I’m still very traumatised… One young guy took me outside, ripped down my dress while another took photographs, spat on me and called me a whore. All I remember is someone saying it was set up.”
She complained of feeling “numb to everything around me” as a result of the spiked drink, and suffered from heavy nosebleeds.
She added: “One young man needs slinging out of the party and reporting to the police. I haven’t done the latter since I didn’t want a scandal for everyone who works so hard in Ukip or a scandal for my family.”
On Oct 18, she wrote again to Miss Duffy: “I am afraid that what I have been through is a very serious matter and I will need to get the police involved. I’m currently seeing a solicitor about the actions of [X] and two others who were also involved in what is an assault.”
It was at this point that Ukip’s leadership, with the knowledge of Mr Farage, asked Mr Greaves to investigate.
“It is not at any stage in this matter for Ukip to report matters to the police,” wrote Mr Greaves in his analysis for The Telegraph.
He drove from Brussels to the UK to interview the alleged attacker – referred to throughout the dossier as X to protect his identity. During the interview, X denied the attack and also gave an alibi.
Mr Greaves concluded after the interview that X was “on the balance of probabilities” telling the truth.
He wrote: “Apart from what I believe to be an untruth about his taking medication, which may be explicable on the basis that someone wanting advancement in Ukip might well decide to conceal a medical condition which seriously affects mood and temperament, the writer [Mr Greaves] had no basis whatsoever to conclude anything other than that X was telling the truth or, at the least, may be telling the truth on the balance of probabilities.”
Following the interview with X, Mr Greaves decided no disciplinary action could be taken against him and wrote a report for party officials and for Mr Farage outlining why.
In his account to this newspaper, he wrote: “At this stage the complaint is, on any view, in a sorry state. C has given accounts which as to material matters are inconsistent with one another, certainly to the eye of a skilled criminal cross-examiner.”
He pointed to a series of inconsistencies, including the email on Sept 26 which made no mention of an assault. The email, he explained, “fatally undermines her later assertions of having been assaulted and having had he [sic] drink spiked”.
Mr Greaves also pointed to discrepancies between her account and statements from Miss Duffy and Mrs Farage among others, not least the alleged victim’s claim that she had suffered nose bleeds and loss of vision, adding: “The evidence of KF and LD entirely contradicts this.”
On Nov 9, Mr Greaves also wrote to the woman, inviting her to make a formal complaint to Ukip, but advising her that if she wished to do so “it is inevitable that other people will have to be involved in the affair”.
In his account, he added: “One might properly and reasonably conclude that any solicitor advising her would give her advice that once she makes a complaint of this kind it would inevitably find its way into the public domain, even before the advent of the egregious era of so-called ‘social media’.”
The woman, who had been to see a lawyer, wrote back promptly saying that she did not wish to lodge a formal complaint with Ukip. But she also wrote on Nov 12 that she had been “blackmailed into keeping quiet and that photographs taken outside the hotel would be used against her”. In the letter, the alleged victim also said for the first time that a woman had “set up the attack”.
Mr Greaves saw this as further proof of her constantly changing story. He also concluded that the attack was not a serious one. “The only complaint made had been one of assault by battery, to the extent of the ripping of a dress (to an unknown extent) and spitting. On any view, it is unlikely that that would attract more than a conditional discharge from the magistrates,” he wrote.
He also pointed out that there was no “sexual aspect” to the case except for the woman’s approach to Mr Farage earlier in the evening when she invited him to room.
Mr Greaves informed Mr Farage of his findings and at that point closed the file on the case.
Ukip’s leadership believed that was the end of the matter, but details began to leak out. In March, the alleged victim posted some of her allegations on a social networking site. “Too many witnesses to what happened. Some have evidence,” she wrote in one message, followed by: “Starting to write a short book about the attack. Finding it incredibly painful but will shame those involved. Someone spat in my face too.”
A few days later she added: “If you’ve been drink spiked go to the police, get evidence.”
Later she wrote: “I don’t know which was worse: waking up the next am and not being able to see properly or blood running down my face and not remembering a thing.”
She has never gone to the police and the West Midlands force has no record of any allegation of assault.
The woman still stands by her story, while Ukip disputes it. The truth is that what actually happened at Ukip’s conference that night in September may never be fully known.