David Mackintosh 'unaware developer was behind donations'

Man walking down the steps of court
David Mackintosh, pictured, is on trial at Warwick Crown Court alongside property developer Howard Grossman

A former Conservative MP has told a jury he did not know a property developer was behind his political donations.

Former Northampton South MP David Mackintosh is accused of not disclosing the true source of £39,000 paid to his local Conservative association.

He was giving evidence in the third week of his trial at Warwick Crown Court.

Mr Mackintosh and the developer, Howard Grossman, 61, deny the charges.

The court heard how Mr Mackintosh, 44, chose not to contest the seat at the 2017 General Election, following BBC reporting about £39,000 in donations made to Northampton South Conservative Association (NSCA) in 2014.

He told the court: "These allegations played a part and my local party made my life unbearable. Also, my friend Jo Cox had been murdered. I had just had enough."

Earlier he described how he had formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group on reducing homelessness with Ms Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in June 2016.

Examined by his counsel, Cairns Nelson KC, Mr Mackintosh denied knowing Mr Grossman had been the ultimate source of three donations of £10,000 and six further payments of £1,500 to his campaign between April and September 2014.

'Very jovial'

He told the jury he had met one of the donors, hypnotherapist Al Mayfield, for the first time on the set of EastEnders.

The "very jovial" visit had been arranged by Mr Grossman, he said.

"During the course of the day, he [Mr Mayfield] mentioned that he was a Conservative supporter," said Mr Mackintosh.

My Mayfield, of Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, paid £10,000 to NCSA not long afterwards, the court heard.

Mr Mackintosh recalled a telephone conversation in which "Mr Grossman said Mr Mayfield had been impressed with my politics and charity work".

Mr Mackintosh, who set up the charity Kids Aid in Northampton in 2007, explained: "My mother died when I was eight and my brother and I benefited from a similar service."

Mr Nelson asked him: "In your dealings as leader of the council [Northampton Borough] or MP, did you give any favours to Mr Grossman?"

"No," he replied.

Asked why he had answered "no comment" in his police interview, Mr Mackintosh said he had been following legal advice.

Earlier in the hearing character references were read out on behalf of Mr Grossman, who is not giving evidence.

A friend described the businessman as someone who "approaches life with unwavering intensity", adding: "He is one of life's colourful characters."

The jury was also told the indictment against the defendants had been amended following legal argument.

The trial continues.

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