Woman denies Bute House encounter was consensual
BBC Scotland is reporting that a former Scottish government official has denied ever having had a consensual sexual encounter with Alex Salmond.
Mr Salmond denies sexually assaulting the woman, known as Woman H, in May 2014 and attempting to rape her a month later.
Giving evidence for a third day at the High Court in Edinburgh, she said she had “never been a willing participant of Alex Salmond’s advances towards me”.
Mr Salmond denies a total of 14 sexual assault charges against 10 women.
He says he is innocent of all the allegations against him, which it is claimed happened while he was serving as Scotland’s first minister and the SNP leader.
Woman H has previously told the court that Mr Salmond “pounced on her” after a dinner at the first minister’s official Bute House residence in June 2014.
She alleged that he pulled her clothes off, pushed her onto a bed and then lay naked on top of her despite her protests.
Woman H has previously denied suggestions by defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC that she was not at the dinner in June 2014, and that there was no incident.
On Wednesday morning, Ms McCall put it to the witness that the dinner in question had actually been at Bute House in August 2013, and had led to a consensual sexual encounter with Mr Salmond.
Woman H replied: “That’s not true. I have never been a willing participant in Alex Salmond’s advances towards me, and never will be.”
Woman H denied suggestions by Ms McCall that she had started to unbutton Mr Salmond’s shirt as they were saying goodnight, kissed him and helped to pull his trousers down to his knees.
The witness insisted: “I spent a large part of that evening trying to dodge his advances.”
Ms McCall said the truth of the matter was that Mr Salmond’s underpants were not down, just his trousers, during the encounter.
But Woman H said: “Absolutely not, as I have got this horrific image of him being fully aroused and lying over me.”
Woman H also said that the evening had ended with Mr Salmond “passing out drunk, snoring, exhausted by his attempts to get me to sleep with him, which I kept saying no to”.
She denied that there had been a discussion with Mr Salmond about how she had got “carried away”, and that he had told her not to worry about it.
The court was later shown a video of a police interview with a celebrity who said he had been at a dinner in Bute House with Mr Salmond. He said he believed Woman H and a businesswoman were also there.
When he was asked whether the dinner had been on the same date in June 2014 that Mr Salmond is alleged to have attempted to rape Woman H, the celebrity replied that it “sounds about right”.
The celebrity said that the four people had shared a bottle of wine between them at the “jovial” dinner, but they were “not really” under the influence of alcohol.
He said he left Bute House at about 23:00. He said the businesswoman had already left by then, and that he remembered Mr Salmond and Woman H still being in the building.
He also said he had not seen anything that caused him any concern.
The next witness to be called in the trial was a businessman who said he had been at various Bute House dinners and remembered Woman H being “friendly and comfortable” with Mr Salmond.
A former member of Yes Scotland staff then told the court that Woman H had never mentioned to him that she had been at dinner with the celebrity.
Mr Salmond has pled not guilty to one charge of attempted rape, one assault with intent to rape, 10 sexual assaults and two indecent assaults.
The offences are alleged to have happened at various locations in Scotland between June 2008 and November 2014.
- Some reports of the trial state that Mr Salmond is “determined to prove his innocence”. This is not the case. The Crown has an obligation to prove his guilt – Editor