Accuser says Alex Salmond grabbed her like ‘an octopus’
BBC Scotland is reporting that a civil servant has claimed that Alex Salmond, pictured left, grabbed her wrists like “an octopus” and asked her to recreate an “inappropriate” Christmas card.
The woman, known as Woman B, told the trial of the former Scottish first minister that he only stopped when someone came to the door.
She said she did not complain at the time because it would have damaged her career.
Mr Salmond denies sexually assaulting Woman B in October or November 2010.
He has also pled not guilty to a further 13 charges of sexual assault against nine other women. The alleged offences are all said to have happened when Mr Salmond was serving as Scotland’s first minister and the leader of the SNP.
Giving evidence on the sixth day of the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, Woman B said she had been at a meeting at Mr Salmond’s Bute House residence late one evening.
She said the topics had included a Christmas card that had been created by artist Jack Vettriano for Mr Salmond to send to a “very large” number of people.
Woman B said there had been agreement that the image was inappropriate and should not be used as it showed a younger, “scantily clad” woman leaning up to kiss an older man.
A different image by Mr Vettriano was eventually used for the Christmas card.
The other two people at the meeting left the room, leaving her and Mr Salmond alone, she said.
Woman B said she started to gather her papers so that she could also leave.
But she alleged that Mr Salmond suddenly “grabbed my wrists and pulled me towards him” and asked her to recreate the image on the Christmas card.
She said she had been “shocked” and had tried to remove his hands, but it “felt like every time I managed to get a hand off, another hand would appear.
“He was very persistent – it felt like I was sort of wrestling with an octopus, there was always another hand coming at my wrists.
“He was leaning towards me and trying to pull me in to him, and because he’d said let’s recreate the pose I knew it was a sexual approach.”
Woman B claimed that Mr Salmond stopped as soon as one of the other people who had been at the meeting returned to the room.
She said she told her husband about the alleged incident, and also told a colleague and her line manager – but “there wasn’t an option to take things further at that time in the Scottish government”.
She claimed the relationship between the civil service and Mr Salmond at that time meant that she would have been “removed” if she had formally complained.
What has the trial heard so far?
- Woman tells court Alex Salmond ‘pounced’ on her
- Alex Salmond trial witness denies making up allegations
- Woman claims former first minister gave her ‘very sloppy’ kisses
- Woman says former first minister ‘apologised’ for behaviour
- Woman says Salmond kissed her after ‘zombie walk’
Defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC put it to Woman B that Mr Salmond had been in a “playful” mood and that the alleged incident had merely been “high jinks”.
Woman B dismissed this suggestion, adding: “Restraining someone’s wrists and trying to kiss them is more than inappropriate.”
When asked by Ms McCall why she had not formally complained at the time, Woman B replied: “If I had complained it would have been swept under the carpet and I would have suffered in my career as a result.
“I would have been moved. I never saw anyone in a senior position in the Scottish government tackle the first minister over his behaviour.”
The next witness said she had been a colleague of Woman B and had been told by her about the alleged incident the following day.
She also told Ms McCall that she thought Mr Salmond had been in a “cheerful and playful” mood that night.
Mr Salmond says he is innocent of all the allegations against him.
He entered not guilty pleas to all of the 14 of the charges against him, which included one charge of attempted rape, one of sexual assault with intent to rape, 10 sexual assaults and two indecent assaults.
One of the less serious charges against him has now been dropped and the case has been continued by the judge, Lady Dorrian, until tomorrow when the evidence for the defence will be heard by the judge and jury.