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Woman denies 'getting carried away' with Salmond at residence

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Alex Salmond denies the claims. Photo: PA

Alex Salmond denies the claims. Photo: PA

PA

Alex Salmond denies the claims. Photo: PA

A guest at Bute House, the Scottish first minister's official residence, has said a former government official was at a dinner there on the evening Alex Salmond is alleged to have tried to rape her.

The former first minister of Scotland is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh over accusations of sexual assault.

The woman has spoken about two alleged incidents, including one charge that the 65-year-old tried to rape her in June 2014.

Mr Salmond's lawyer had previously suggested she had not been at the dinner that night.

But a recording of a police interview taken via Skype in 2019 was played in the courtroom yesterday when the guest claimed he had met the complainant at the dinner.

Under questioning from Detective Chief Inspector Graeme McLachlan, the man said the evening's atmosphere was "jovial".

It was heard one bottle of wine was shared between a few people and no one was overly intoxicated.

Giving evidence, the woman denied she had a consensual encounter with Mr Salmond.

Shelagh McCall QC, representing Mr Salmond, claimed yesterday the prosecution witness had a consensual sexual encounter with Mr Salmond at Bute House in August 2013. She said the woman had kissed Mr Salmond and he had kissed her back and she had unbuttoned his shirt and pulled down his trousers.

Ms McCall added: "Mr Salmond says he did have an encounter with you, of a sexual nature with you, but it was in August 2013."

But the woman said: "I have never been a willing participant of Alex Salmond's advances towards me."

Ms McCall said the encounter ended when the woman said to Mr Salmond that she had not "meant this to happen" and they realised they had got "carried away".

But the woman said: "Absolutely not, it sounds a much better ending of an evening than what actually happened."

Mr Salmond faces 14 charges of alleged offences against 10 women, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to. The trial continues.

Irish Independent