The woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a Tory MP yesterday broke her ­silence and said: “My life’s been destroyed.”
Annabelle Fuller, 29, spoke out to defend herself over the rumours that have swirled since Andrew Bridgen was arrested over the ­allegation he groped her on the balcony of his Westminster flat.
Parliamentary aide and former charity worker Annabelle, who has now fled abroad, revealed she never wanted the case against the North-West Leicestershire MP to go ahead. She said she didn’t even phone police, claiming it was a security guard working at the MP’s block of flats who made the call.
The events that led to Mr Bridgen’s arrest unfolded on June 8, when ­Annabelle and the MP met at a pub near the Houses of Parliament and ended up back at his ­Westminster flat.
He was arrested the next morning and, after a week-long police investigation, the case was dropped due to lack of evidence. He then threatened to take legal action over Annabelle’s ­“ludicrous” and “false” allegations. Since then ­Annabelle has been feeling suicidal, rarely sleeps, and has seen a therapist.
Annabelle Fuller's injuries
She is a popular socialite on the ­Westminster scene, widely known by many MPs, researchers and journalists for her tireless campaigning for the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers’ Charity.
However, when she met the Sunday Mirror at a hotel close to her hideaway this week, normally gregarious Annabelle ­appeared nervous and ­shaken.
A scar sustained while leaving the flat is still visible on her forehead as she talks – her voice cracking with emotion – about the events of the last few weeks, stopping regularly to draw on a cigarette.
“I’ve been painted as a fantasist, which is so unfair,” she said. “I never wanted things to get this far. I told the police I didn’t want to take any action. I just want this nightmare to end.”
Andrew Bridgen (pic: Caters News, SM)
Waiving her right to anonymity, she frankly admitted she had been drinking that afternoon, that her behaviour could have been seen as flirtatious and that she was “naïve” to return to the MP’s flat.
University-educated Annabelle, who now works as an assistant to UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, readily admits she enjoys the social scene of Westminster, where much of the day-to-day business revolves around pubs and bars.
She said the day of June 8 started like many others in the world of Westminster lobbying. She met a work contact for lunch at the Guinea Grill pub, off London’s ­Berkeley Square, then spent most of the afternoon socialising with friends.
She later arranged to meet a friend at the Marquis of Granby, a pub close to Westminster which is popular with MPs.
As the evening drew to a close, she went outside to see if anybody had a spare ­cigarette, and bumped into Mr Bridgen.
She didn’t know who he was. But the pair were soon joined by Edward Green, a civil servant Annabelle ­recognised.
Recalling their meeting, Annabelle said: “He (Mr Bridgen) never introduced himself as an MP so I just thought he was a regular guy. I explained how I worked in politics and had an interest in the military and working with charities who support our troops.
“He said he was an ex-Marine and I mentioned a Freedom of Information ­request I’d obtained uncovering the fact charities were paying for the limbs of amputee ­soldiers. Mr Bridgen said, ‘That is not right’ – and listened to what I had to say.”
The Marquis of Granby
The discussion continued until closing time, then Mr Bridgen, a married father of two, suggested they all return to his flat close to the Houses of Parliament.
Annabelle, 29, said: “He said, ‘We can have a cigarette and carry on ­talking.’ I said, ‘Yes, but I will be going home as I have an ill cat.’ In my mind it was a quick fag and then off home.”
Annabelle says the trio took a taxi to a nearby petrol station to buy cigarettes and arrived at his apartment after midnight.
“When we got there I was confused about where I was,” Annabelle said. “I felt ­uncomfortable. Something inside my head said I shouldn’t be here. I thought about just walking out. Mr Bridgen offered me a drink but I said, ‘No, I’m not drinking any more.’” Annabelle claims she then sent a text to friends and tried to call her parents to relay how she was feeling.
After a friend replied advising she find out where she was, Annabelle says she spotted a letter on the table with Mr Bridgen’s name on it – which she claims was the first point she realised he was an MP.
Annabelle said he then ­invited her to join him and Mr Green on the balcony. She says they had to walk through his bedroom to get there and says Mr Bridgen, 46, pointed at the bed ­saying how “big and comfy” it was. “I thought, ‘I don’t like this situation,’” she said.
It was at this point, around 1.30am on June 9, that their accounts of what ­happened diverge. Annabelle claims he reached up her skirt and touched her on the bottom and leg. But Mr Bridgen says there was no inappropriate contact and the police have decided there is no evidence to support the claims, which is why the case has been dropped.
After they went on to the balcony, Annabelle said she needed the toilet and dashed back into the lounge, grabbing Mr Bridgen’s Westminster pass, his Blackberry phone and a letter with his address on it to prove where she had been. She claims she then fled bare-foot. As she dashed downstairs she ran into a wall on the stairwell, gashing her head and cutting her lip.
A security guard asked if she wanted him to call the police and she replied: “I just want to get the hell out of here.”
Unbeknown to ­Annabelle, she says the security guard had ­dialled 999 and two ­police officers arrived.
Annabelle said: “I told the police ­officers I was scared and I ran. I said to them I just wanted to go home.”
Instead Annabelle was taken to ­London’s Charing Cross police station where she was asked to give a ­statement.
“They took a DNA ­sample, urine sample and then a female officer came in to take my clothes.
“I had no idea what was going on and what had been set in ­motion.”
Later on June 9, ­Annabelle says she was called by an officer at a specialist unit at the Met saying she needed to give a fuller statement. She says she told police she did not want to take the ­matter further. She also signed a form saying she didn’t want to give evidence in court. “I told the police, ‘I just want this all to go away,” she said. “But the police told me, ‘Unfortunately that can’t happen – Mr Bridgen has been arrested.’”
In the aftermath of his arrest Annabelle says the police told her to take time to decide what to do.
She says she has spent hours poring over the incident in her mind, sometimes blaming herself. “I regretted being naïve enough to go back to the flat,” she ­admitted.
The case was dropped on June 16 ­following a fuller statement which ­Annabelle gave to police. In it she ­conceded her behaviour could have been construed as flirting and that she would withdraw her allegation.
Annabelle hoped that would be the end of the matter.
But within hours, Mr Bridgen appeared on TV news channels having released a statement saying he would be taking legal advice about possible action “against those responsible for making and publicising these falsehoods”.
Annabelle says this “vicious” response has turned her world upside down.
“I read his comments savaging me and was shaking with anger. It was so vicious. I don’t believe his behaviour is ­appropriate for a man in his position.”
To make matters worse, text ­messages from Adrian Yalland, who works for London-based PR firm Chelgate, started to arrive on Annabelle’s mobile.
The first at 10.15pm on June 16 said: “This is Adrian Yalland from Chelgate. I wondered if you would like to meet for a discussion.”
After replying “no” Mr Yalland ­responded, “Do you know who I am” and, “Do you know who I represent?”
A spokesman for Chelgate confirmed they represented Mr Bridgen, and last night Adrian Yalland told the Sunday Mirror: “Yes, I did try to arrange a ­meeting. But the reason why is none of your business.” He said Annabelle later contacted him.
Annabelle said: “I couldn’t believe I received those text messages so soon after the case had been dropped.”
Everyone at Westminster knew who she was and she felt too traumatised to return to work. She said Mr Bridgen’s response has made it impossible for her to go back. She said the furore ­surrounding the incident has turned her into a ­“gibbering wreck” and left her ­suicidal.
“In the days after, I had to see my ­doctor and a therapist,” she said. “I couldn’t walk down the street ­without holding my parents’ hands. I am a 29-year-old for goodness sake.”
Annabelle added: “The whole episode has been upsetting, but Mr Bridgen’s actions since the night have just added to my pain and distress.”
Last night Mr Bridgen told the Sunday Mirror he continued to strenuously deny the allegation of sexual assault.
He insisted he was never alone with Ms Fuller in his apartment. He ­admitted pointing to his bed but said it was only to point out his Union Jack bedspread.

He said: “I repeat what I have said all along – I did nothing wrong. This has been a trial by accusation. I just want to put this whole episode behind me.”