Salmond trial: Woman ‘was scared’ to shout for help

Complainer questioned by defence QC over claims she was sexually assaulted by the former first minister.

Salmond trial: Woman ‘was scared’ to shout for help Getty Images

A former Scottish Government official who claims Alex Salmond tried to rape her told a court she was “scared” to call for help.

Salmond, 65, is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of sexually assaulting ten women while he was first minister.

Giving evidence for a second day, the woman said she was screaming inside when the alleged attempted rape took place at Bute House in June 2014, but didn’t report it until years later.

She also said she didn’t call for help that night because: “I was scared, I was embarrassed and humiliated.”

The court also saw an email the woman, known as Ms H, sent to Salmond three years later, asking him to come to a charity event she was helping to organise.

Salmond is also accused of sexually assaulting her at Bute House the previous month – a charge he has lodged a special defence of ‘alibi’ to.

In court on Tuesday, defence QC Sheila McCall took Ms H through Salmond’s diary for May 2014.

He put it to her: ‘There doesn’t really seem to be any dinner that you would’ve been present at in May 2014 – do you accept there was no incident with Mr Salmond in Bute House in May 2014?’

Ms H replied: “Absolutely not”.

In terms of the diary being an accurate record of events, she said: “Some of the stuff that’s in this diary will have happened, some won’t, that’s the nature of it.”

It was put to her: “Isn’t it the truth that you were not at this dinner? There was no incident with the first minister in Bute House?”

She replied: “I wish for my life that that was true. I wish for my life that the first minister had been nicer and a better man, and I wouldn’t be here.”

Ms H was questioned about her claim the attempted rape happened after a dinner where a famous actor had been a guest.

It was suggested she only knew about that event from The Dream Shall Never Die, a book Salmond wrote about the independence referendum.

It was put to her: “You read that before you mentioned the actor to police.”

She replied: “I’ve never read Alex Salmond’s book, it was widely regarded as a joke by people in politics and I didn’t need to relive the campaign through his version of it.”

Asked why she didn’t seek help from the Bute House security guard after the alleged attack, Ms H replied: “I’d just been the victim of a sexual attack, how do you respond? Looking back, I wish I’d screamed, I wish I’d physically reacted, but I just turned to stone.”

Ms H was earlier questioned about a text message she’d sent another woman prior to contacting police.

It said: “I’m mulling too, but I have a plan. And means we can be anonymous but see strong repercussions.”

She denied she had been encouraged by others to report the incident and also denied suggestions she’d been angry with Salmond because he failed to endorse a personal project she was working on.

The court was shown an email sent from Ms H to Salmond in October 2017, three years after she alleges he attacked her. In it she asked him to support a charity fundraiser she was involved in.

Salmond denies all 14 charges against him and the trial continues.

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