Daily Mail

Sailor ‘raped colleague at a Holiday Inn af ter her prosecco-fuelled birthday’

- By Alex Ward

A FEMALE sailor was raped by a Navy colleague after a prosecco-fuelled party to celebrate her birthday at a hotel, a court martial heard.

Able Seaman William Stewart allegedly attacked the woman who had ‘crashed’ after stripping down to her bra and showering half-naked male shipmates in fizz.

The pair were among a group of sailors who had been out drinking before returning to a Holiday Inn to continue celebratio­ns.

The court was told several sailors – including Stewart, pictured – took their tops off after someone shouted ‘Naked mess!’ and then lay on the floor as the woman poured prosecco on herself and them. She then went with three of the group – including engineerin­g technician Stewart – to another sailor’s hotel room, where she changed out of wet clothes and fell asleep on his bed. The woman said she woke to find Stewart assaulting her. The alleged attack took place in the North East while the sailors’ ship was undergoing maintenanc­e. Wing Commander Michael Saunders, prosecutin­g, told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that the woman had been given a bottle of prosecco as it was her birthday and she poured it ‘over herself and onto some males with their tops off on the floor. One of them was AB Stewart.’

The woman told the court: ‘It was my birthday the day after. We were celebratin­g that and a couple of people were promoted, so we were celebratin­g that, too. We were all having drinks and everybody was having a good time.’ She added: ‘“Naked mess!” was shouted – it was just tops off... We all had a bit of the prosecco and I got a bit wet from the alcohol.’

The woman said they then moved to a room to carry on the party, adding: ‘I asked the lad whose room it was if I could change into dry clothes. I changed into boxers and a top and continued drinking.

‘I started getting sleepy and I just crashed. I fell asleep.’

But she said she was ‘scared and confused’ when she woke to find Stewart, who she hardly knew, ‘fondling’ her breasts

‘Scared and confused’

and touching her. She said: ‘I woke up without the boxers on and my top was risen up past my chest – this person was fondling me and touching me... I didn’t know what was going on.’

She said Stewart then moved to the other side of the bed and sexually assaulted a sleeping male sailor. She told the court: ‘He came back to me, and decided to have sex with me...I just lay there. My eyes were closed the whole time.

‘He basically did what he wanted and I hoped it would be over. I remember praying the lad next to me would wake up. It felt like a lifetime.’

Stewart denies rape, assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity – claiming both sailors consented. The trial continues.

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