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Kevin Woodford gives evidence at by-election trial

A court has heard celebrity chef Kevin Woodford describe his brief foray into politics as the most ‘horrific experience of his life’.

Giving evidence at Douglas courthouse where he was called as a prosecution witness, he said his reputation had been ‘sullied’ and his life on the Island ‘ruined’ by events relating to the 2010 Douglas East by-election.

Mr Woodford, an unsuccessful candidate, was speaking at the trial of four people accused of election fraud.

They're accused of making ‘dishonest attempts’ to manipulate voting proceedings and secure proxy votes.

Mr Woodford told the jury he was horrified at what had emerged about his campaign manager, Charles ‘Buster’ Lewin, in the aftermath of the election and at the time had signed up to the Manx Election Trust because they were backed by ‘socially conscious businessmen’ concerned about the Island’s economy.

Earlier this week, the court was told Lewin has admitted three charges of election fraud.

Mr Woodford said the last two and a half years had hung over him and had been a ‘nerve-wracking experience’.

Defence counsel Nicholas Johnson QC suggested the candidate was aware about proxy voting concerns and what Lewin was doing.

‘Not at all,’ said Mr Woodford, ‘and that is extremely hurtful.’

The trial continues next Tuesday.

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