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The Great Salmond Sex Scandal

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From The Guardian, on line yesterday.


In short: Droit de Seigneur


Alex Salmond said sorry after assaulting me, woman tells court

Civil servant says former first minister ordered her on to bed and lay on top of her

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent

Thu 12 Mar 2020 15.59 GMTLast modified on Thu 12 Mar 2020 20.50 GMT




A woman who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Alex Salmond has told a court that he apologised to her at a private meeting arranged by officials a week after the incident took place.

The woman claimed that she felt fear and panic that the then first minister “wasn’t going to stop” after saying that he lay on top of her while drunk and forced his hands up under her dress, while repeatedly telling her: “You’re irresistible.”

Witness F, a civil servant in the Scottish government who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleged that Salmond had drunk nearly a full bottle of spirits before he ordered her on to a bed at the first minister’s official residence, Bute House, towards the end of a late-night meeting in December 2013.


She said that it was arranged for her to meet Salmond at his office in Holyrood, without any chaperone, around a week after the alleged assault.

F told the court: “The first minister told me he was sorry for what had happened and that it was inappropriate. He said that he had been drinking more than usual, not just that night but in general, due to stress. He said that he respected me and wanted to keep working together. I accepted the apology and confirmed we would keep working together.”

The woman was giving evidence from behind a screen on the fourth day of the former Scottish National party leader’s trial on 14 sexual assault charges, relating to 10 women, including a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape against F. The 65-year-old denies all the allegations.

F told the high court in Edinburgh that she ended up in a bedroom on the third floor of Bute House with Salmond after he suggested that they move from a private sitting room on the floor below because it was too cold.

F alleged that the pair first sat at a small table in the bedroom to go through paperwork. She said that Salmond produced a bottle of the Chinese spirit Maotai, which she said that he continued to drink steadily, while she “wetted her lips”. “I never particularly liked drinking with the first minister,” she told the prosecutor, Alex Prentice QC.

The witness told the court that she felt panicked when Salmond told her: “Get on the bed,” as she prepared to leave at around 11pm.

“This was very much within a working environment and culture where you do whatever the first minister asks of you. I was sitting very primly on the edge of the bed with rising panic.”

She alleged that the assault progressed quickly. “I was lying across the bed and the first minister was lying on top of me.” She said that Salmond first pushed his hands under the skirt of her dress and ran them over her thighs and bottom, before touching her breasts over her clothing. She told the court that he was kissing her “sloppily and rather haphazardly”, while repeatedly murmuring the phrase: “You’re irresistible.”

Asked by Prentice what she was feeling at this point, F said: “A mix of panic and disbelief that this could be happening. I knew that I had to stop this, to get away but how on earth do you actually achieve that?”

She went on: “It seemed very clear that he wasn’t going to stop.” She told the court that she believed that there would be “aggression”, and that Salmond “was going to try to remove my tights and underwear and that he would be pushing the encounter physically”.

She alleged that as she continued to try to block Salmond’s hands, his weight shifted and she was able to get up off the bed and leave the bedroom, after saying goodnight.

After she left Bute House, F told the court that she felt a “looming horror that this was something sufficiently serious that I would have to tell somebody but I couldn’t imagine doing that, couldn’t imagine saying the words”.

As she walked home, she said that she texted a senior civil service colleague with the message: “That’s an evening that I’ll need to forget.” After he responded with concern the following morning, they met in person. “I was finding it extremely difficult to talk about,” said F. “Part of his response was that it could be a crime.”

She said she then decided to take further action, speaking to another senior civil servant and conveying “that something more serious had happened than the lower-level behaviour we almost took as a baseline”. At a further meeting with this senior civil servant and Geoff Aberdein, Salmond’s then chief of staff, she said: “I used the phrase ‘get on the bed’ but didn’t go into details.” The two men then arranged the meeting with Salmond, she alleged.

During cross-examination, one of Salmond’s lawyers, Gordon Jackson QC, suggested that the encounter amounted to “a sleepy cuddle” on the bed, and that F had drunk a similar amount of alcohol to Salmond.

She replied: “Absolutely not. I refute any suggestion that I cuddled the first minister.”

Asked why she did not got to the police if she genuinely believed that Salmond had intended to rape her, she said: “I don’t think I was processing what was happening through the lexicon of criminal justice.” She added: “I very much felt that he wasn’t going to stop.”

Pressed by Jackson on why she did not immediately report the alleged assault if she thought it a criminal act, F said: “This is to misunderstand the context ... Going to someone outside was completely unthinkable. This was the run-up to a referendum on independence. Everything we did which was outward-facing had potential ramifications which went well beyond personal experience”.

The trial continues.

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From today's Times


In short: quarantined; but not self-isolation


Don’t be left alone with Alex Salmond, women told

Kieran Andrews

Friday March 13 2020, 12.01am, The Times



Senior civil servants ordered that women should not be left alone with Alex Salmond in his official residence when he was first minister, a court has been told.

A Scottish government official who can only be identified as Woman G, told the court that Mr Salmond sexually assaulted her on two occasions: once in a Glasgow restaurant and once at Bute House in Edinburgh.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told that as they left the restaurant in March 2012 Mr Salmond “smacked” her bottom leaving her feeling like a “plaything”. Asked whether Mr Salmond had been “playful” when he touched her, she replied: “I think it is extremely inappropriate.”

She said that the second incident took place at Mr Salmond’s official residence where he “beckoned” her on to a sofa in the sitting room and poured shots of limoncello, a liqueur. She said that he had “told” her to come back to his official residence to drop off papers after a dinner.

Mr Salmond is then said to have made “inappropriate” remarks to her, including telling her “what I would do to you” if he were younger and attempting to kiss her.

The woman told the court that she took his words to mean “that he would try to have sex with me, to have sexual relations with me. He had his arm around me and at that point I started to feel panic and he leant in to kiss me.”

She said that she felt “slightly intimidated and trapped” after Mr Salmond put his feet up on a coffee table that was in front of the sofa, which she said blocked her exit route from the room.

The woman told the court that she was “frightened” and set off the ring- tone of her mobile phone to make it appear that family members from abroad were trying to contact her as she attempted to find a reason to leave Bute House.

“It was at that moment I thought if I didn’t get out that something really serious was about to happen,” she said. She claimed that Mr Salmond looked “almost defeated” as she left the room.

Mr Salmond, 65, is accused of sexually assaulting Woman G in April 2014 by placing his arm around her, making sexual remarks to her and attempting to kiss her.

He is accused of 14 sexual assaults, including an attempted rape, against ten women. He denies all charges and has lodged special defences of consent and alibi.

Woman G said that she raised concerns about the alleged incident and did not attend work in the coming days. This led to a change in staffing rules, she said. The woman said that there were “a lot of allowances made for Mr Salmond because of his volatility”.

She added: “The specific change was that women were not to be left alone with Mr Salmond in Bute House and he was not to receive any civil service private office support — I don’t recall whether it was after 7pm or 9pm — unless there was specific government business to attend to.”

Gordon Jackson, QC, for the defence, asked the woman why she did not contact police about the alleged incident.

The woman said that this was “not an option” because she felt there would be ramifications if it became public, including having an impact on the Scottish independence referendum.

Her mother told the court that Woman G had been upset during a phone conversation between the pair. The mother said that she thought Mr Salmond had murdered his wife after the government official said she knew “something that’s going to change everything” that involved the first minister. The mother said: “I said, ‘Oh my God, has he killed Moira?’ She said no.”

The trial before Lady Dorrian continues.


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12 hours ago, Scott7 said:

I wonder when counsel for the defence will start earning their mega-bucks fees.  They haven’t laid a glove on the witnesses so far. When will they let fly with the knockout punch?

What will the knockout punch be? 

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From this morning's Times


In short: (and appropriately enough).......Dead Man Walking



Alex Salmond ‘imitated zombie and tried to kiss colleague’

Mike Wade

Saturday March 14 2020, 12.01am, The Times




An SNP worker experienced “an awful nightmare” when Alex Salmond imitated a zombie before trying to kiss her on both cheeks and the mouth, a court has been told.

The woman was alone with the first minister late at night at Bute House and said that she was already “a little panicked” because he had invited her to lie on the floor with him to write a speech. She said that “out of the blue he said, ‘Have you seen that zombie movie?’ I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. He straightened his arms and did an impersonation of a zombie walking towards me. He put his hands on my shoulder and leant in to kiss me on one cheek . . . then the other, then leant in to kiss me on the lips.”

Known as Woman J to protect her identity, the party employee told the High Court in Edinburgh that the incident occurred during the Scottish independence referendum campaign. Mr Salmond had been drinking whisky at his official residence, she added.

Mr Salmond, 65, of Strichen, Aberdeenshire denies 14 charges of sexual assault against ten women. His lawyers previously lodged special defences of consent and alibi.

Woman J said she had broken free of Mr Salmond’s grip, but remained in his residence to help to finish the speech for an important event in the morning. They worked in a study, the woman typing at an L-shaped desk with a wall behind her. There she alleged that Mr Salmond had touched her on the leg and nose. “I really froze because of the way I was sitting,” Woman J said. “I felt really intimidated because I felt physically hemmed in next to the desk.”

Mr Salmond, the woman alleged, had invited her to stay over. “There was no way in hell I would,” she said. Mr Salmond went to bed and she left at about 2am. The next morning she told a friend about the incident. The friend, a fellow party worker, told the court that Woman J had seemed “visibly upset and shaken, not herself”.

Shelagh McCall, QC, for the defence, said that Mr Salmond denied the imitation had happened. She noted that a year later Woman J had written about the campaign and had painted her evening with Mr Salmond positively.

In other evidence a former civil servant in the Scottish government said that she felt “mortified” and “demeaned” after Mr Salmond grabbed her buttocks during a photograph. The court was shown a sequence of images from an event at which Mr Salmond was having a set of photos taken.

The images showed a front-on view of the two when Mr Salmond “reached down and grabbed the right hand side of my backside quite forcibly”, Woman K said. She felt shocked, she said, but “I was having my picture taken, I didn’t want to make a scene”. Mr Salmond was shown smiling broadly. The woman was asked to describe her expression. “Very embarrassed,” she said.

Woman K said: “I think my heart stopped, my adrenaline started pumping. It made me just mortified. I wanted to be proud of myself coming in and doing my job and it felt like I was demeaned, that it was unprofessional, that there was nothing I could do about it.” The act was “very deliberate”.

Gordon Jackson, QC, for the defence, asked Woman K about her description of the incident in a police interview. He said: “You didn’t think there was a sexual element. It was about power.” She replied: “That’s me putting my interpretation. The first minister grabbed my buttocks because he could.”

The trial, before Lady Dorrian, continues.

Accusations of hair-stroking
A civil servant has claimed that Alex Salmond stroked her hair and face in a lift, prompting a colleague to swat his hand away and tell him to behave himself, the High Court in Edinburgh has been told.

The alleged incident was one of a number said to have occurred between 2011 and 2013, in which Mr Salmond, then the SNP leader, is alleged to have touched the woman, leaving her feeling “demeaned” and “humiliated”.

Woman D told the court that she considered Mr Salmond’s behaviour to be “small fry in the grand scheme of things”.

She claimed she never told anyone what happened or made a formal complaint because she feared doing so would harm her career. “He was the first minister, it would have been almost unimaginable,” she said.

Woman D said: “Mr Salmond reached to touch my face and a civil servant batted his hand away. He said something along the lines of, ‘What do you think you are doing?’

“I was utterly aghast, shocked. I suppose my first feeling was fear.”

Her civil service colleague told the jury of “batting” Mr Salmond’s hand away. He said: “I think I said, ‘Stop that, behave yourself.’ ”

Mr Salmond, 65, of Strichen, Aberdeenshire, denies 14 charges of sexual assault against ten women.

The trial continues.

Edited by Uilleam
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The Times, this morning


In short: double or quits.


Alex Salmond wasn’t alone with women’

Mike Wade

Tuesday March 17 2020, 12.01am, The Times




The managers told the court that the new system at Bute House was a response to complaints from women about Alex Salmond


Two civil service managers have said that work rotas at Bute House were changed to prevent female staff from being left alone with Alex Salmond as the Scottish independence referendum approached, a court has been told.

The managers, both men, told the court that the new system was a response to complaints from women about Mr Salmond, then leader of the SNP. It reflected conduct that “sadly” had built up over years, Christopher Birt, one of the witnesses, said.


Mr Salmond, 65, from Strichen, Aberdeenshire, denies 13 charges of sexual assault against nine women, including one charge of attempted rape. He was cleared of another charge yesterday when it was dropped by the Crown.


Last week the High Court in Edinburgh was told of two alleged incidents said to have prompted the changes to working practices, involving complainants known as Woman F and Woman G, to protect their identities.

Mr Birt, 37, told the court Woman F had seemed “traumatised” by an incident in December 2013. She said Mr Salmond had said “get on the bed”, and lay down on top of her. The system had been changed, Mr Birt said, “meaning no female staffer would be alone in Bute House . . . if a female was [there] then another would also have to be there.”


Gordon Jackson, QC, for the defence, suggested there had never been any thought that the incident involving Woman F was a police matter. Mr Birt said: “We were working in incredibly difficult circumstances, in a world where the conduct described had built up over a number of years. None of the women you mentioned felt they wanted to complain. We felt in a difficult position where it was difficult for us to do anything further.”


Another civil servant referred to an alleged incident four months later, when he was texted by Woman G. “She was really upset and she didn’t want to be around the first minister any more,” he said. “We discussed the incident that had occurred. We introduced a further set of operational responses.” The new rules prevented lone women from being in Bute House after 7pm.

The trial, before Lady Dorrian, continues.

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