A MAN accused of burgling the home of a former Tory minister while he was away on a charity trip in Rwanda told jurors he was never there.

Benjamin Strong, of Aldrich Road, Oxford, is accused of ‘ransacking’ the home of former Conservative MP Brooks Newmark in Winchester Road, Oxford, between July 18 and August 23, 2017.

Prosecutors at Oxford Crown Court claim that the 20-year old raided the house before spraying lewd graffiti on the walls and drinking beer from the kitchen.

Read again: 'Burglars scrawled graffiti' at former minister's home, court hears

Previously jurors were told that one can of Kronenbourg 1664 beer found at the scene carried the DNA matching that of Strong.

But as the trial continued yesterday, Strong took to the witness box to give his version of events.

He denied any involvement in the burglary and, asked to explain how his DNA came to be on the can, said: “I honestly could not give you a reason or explanation why my DNA could be at this man’s property.”

He added: “I have tried lager [but] it is not really the sort of drink I would drink. I have [drunk lager] with friends if I went to a party [...] but it’s not really really my thing.

“I would more likely give it to a homeless person or leave it on the floor for a homeless person.”

The Oxford Times:

Asked which alcoholic beverage he preferred he answered ‘brandy.’

Strong went on to tell jurors that after being arrested for the burglary he was ‘shocked’ and ‘confused’.

He said: “I was upset and wondered about how my mum would think, would she think I was a a bad person?”

In cross examination it was put to Strong that his account was a ‘pack of lies’ by prosecutors, an assertion he denied.

Read again: Latest results from Oxford Magistrates' Court

Forensic scientist Lynne Hingley also gave evidence on behalf of the defence yesterday.

Speaking of the DNA found on the beer can she said that it did not show that Strong was present at the scene.

The alleged victim of the break-in, the Conservative MP for Braintree between 2005 and 2015, took to the witness box earlier in the trial to describe what he saw when he returned to his home.

He told jurors: “I walked through into my kitchen and noticed there was an incredible mess. The floor crunched beneath me and my feet were sticking. Someone had spilt a drink all over the floor and then put salt or sugar all over it.”

He went on to describe items taken including around 20 bottles of drink which he said had disappeared from his drinks cabinet.

Strong denies burglary and the trial continues.