Salmond ‘said sorry to woman for unacceptable behaviour’

A woman tells court the former first minister kissed her 'sloppily and haphazardly' at Bute House.

Former first minister Alex Salmond apologised to a civil servant after “unacceptable” behaviour, a court has heard.

The woman told the High Court in Edinburgh that one evening at Bute House – the first minister’s official residence – Salmond got on top of her on a bed, kissed her “sloppily and haphazardly” and murmured she was irresistible.

Salmond is on trial accused of sexually assaulting ten woman, including an attempted rape. The 65-year-old denies all 14 charges.

The Scottish Government official, who is the fourth complainer to give evidence, said she had thought he was going to “take things further”.

Known as Ms F, she said: “The first minister told me that he was sorry for what had happened, it had been unacceptable.

“He said that he had been drinking more than usual, not just that night but in general due to stress.

“He said something along the lines that he wanted to keep being able to be working together and apologised.

“I accepted the apology, confirmed that I wanted to keep working together.”

Ms F, who was being questioned by advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, told the court the pair had been working one evening in late 2013 when Salmond brought out a bottle of a spirits.

She said while she had drunk a little, Salmond had drank “steadily” and kept trying to top up her glass.

The witness added: “I had a little, the first minister had had rather more.”

When she got up to leave, she said Salmond told her “firmly” but not “aggressively” to get on the bed.

She added: “I felt quite panicked, this was very much within a working environment and culture where we do whatever it is that the first minister asks of you.”

After sitting on the edge of the bed, the woman said Salmond got on top of her and began to kiss and touch her and murmured that she was “irresistible”.

She added: “I don’t recall exactly what happened for those first few seconds but then I was lying with my feet, I think, still on the ground but lying across the foot of the bed.

“The first minister was lying on top of me, he had his hands under the skirt of my dress and ran them over my thighs and my bottom.

“He was also running his hands over the bodice of my dress and over my breasts.

“He was kissing me around my face, quite sloppily and haphazardly, and he was repeatedly murmuring a phrase – it was something like ‘you’re irresistible’.”

The woman said when Salmond was on top of her she thought he was going to “take things further”.

She added: “That there would be progression, progression in the sense of trying to remove his own clothes or taking things further.

“For example, I thought that he was going to remove my tights and my underwear, that he would be pushing the encounter physically further.”

The woman also told the court about a previous incident at Bute House when Salmond allegedly kissed her.

She said: “I was preparing to leave and the first minister kissed me on the mouth, then smiled at me and said ‘goodnight’.”

When asked if she had invited him to kiss her or agreed to him kissing her, she added: “No, absolutely not.

“I was not given the opportunity to agree but had I been given the opportunity, I would not have done so.”

Salmond faces 14 charges of alleged offences against ten women, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.

The charges span a period between June 2008 and November 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place in the month of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

Salmond’s lawyers previously lodged special defences of consent and alibi.

Consent was given as a defence for three alleged sexual assaults and an alleged indecent assault against three women.

The trial, before judge Lady Dorrian, continues.

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