Woman ‘had flashbacks years after Alex Salmond sex attack’

Ms H gives evidence for the second day at the former first minister's trial.

A woman who Alex Salmond is accused of attempting to rape in 2014 had flashbacks several years later, a court heard.

Ms H was giving evidence for a second day at the trial of the former first minister, who is accused of sexually assaulting ten women.

She previously told how she felt “hunted” by Salmond before he “pounced” on her at his then-official residence in Edinburgh.

On Tuesday, the Scottish Government official said she eventually reported Salmond to the SNP over sexual misconduct because she didn’t want it to happen to anyone else.

She said she began to suffer flashbacks around the time of the #MeToo movement.

Ms H told the court: “I had started to learn about (the MeToo movement), yes. It was just around that time.

“It was on the back of the Harvey Weinstein case.

“These issues started to be discussed and I started to have what I could describe as flashbacks.

“I started to come to the realisation at the October/November 2017 period.”

Shelagh McCall QC, representing Salmond, asked whether the woman had been encouraged to speak to Police Scotland after reports emerged in August 2018 that he was being investigated.

The court heard she had been in contact with a number of people before making contact with police.

She said: “There’s no-one cheerleading me to do this. This isn’t fun, I would rather not be here.

“I don’t feel like I have been encouraged, I feel I have made this decision on my own.”

It was also heard she had been in contact with someone in 2015 about a personal political project in which she said she would work with Salmond again, around a year after the alleged sexual assaults were said to take place.

The court heard Ms H had been in contact with another complainer in the case, known as Ms J.

Text messages apparently sent between the two were shown in court.

The messages were said to have been exchanged after the allegations about Salmond surfaced in newspapers and discussed the “AS stuff”.

An apparent text from Ms H to Ms J shown in court said: “I have a plan. And means we can be anonymous but see strong repercussions.”

Ms H said the repercussions were to do with the party and police taking action.

Under cross-examination the woman insisted she had been assaulted by Salmond at Bute House in May 2014.

Ms McCall said: “Is the truth that there was no incident in May in Bute House in the sitting room front of the television?”

But the former Scottish Government official insisted it was true.

She added: “I wish that was true but that is not the case.”

The woman said she had been “too scared, embarrassed and humiliated” to call for help from the security guard stationed at Bute House.

When asked why she had not asked for help on the night Salmond had allegedly attempted to rape her she said: “I really wish that I had.

“I was scared, I was embarrassed and humiliated.

“Looking back I wish I had screamed, I wish I had physically reacted, but I just turned to stone.”

Ms McCall told the jury that her client had not been at Bute House in the evening of 20 dates that May 2014.

Salmond, 65, denies all 14 charges – which span a period between June 2008 and November 2014 – against him at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The trial continues.

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