Saturday 17 March 2018

Sailor 'assaulted with beer bottle' on navy warship

*** Warning: graphic content ****

HMS Northumberland. Credit: Royal Navy
HMS Northumberland. Credit: Royal Navy

By Ben Mitchell

A Royal Navy sailor assaulted a colleague by pushing a beer bottle up his bottom in a drunken prank on board a warship which was filmed on a mobile phone and shown to other members of the ship's company, a court martial has heard.

The incident happened aboard the Plymouth-based frigate HMS Northumberland as it was alongside at Bournemouth, Dorset, for an air show in August 2013.

Nadim Bashir, prosecuting, told the trial at Portsmouth Naval Base's court martial centre that the victim had been drinking heavily after being invited to an event at the petty officer's mess.

Having thrown up several times, the victim had fallen asleep on a seating area and someone had placed a duvet over him when the alleged attack took place.

Logistician Andrew Donaldson, 34, denies a charge of assault by penetration using the Heineken bottle and an alternative count of disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind.

Leading Seaman Christopher Cook, 31, denies a charge of disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind by repeatedly slapping the victim in the face with his penis.

Mr Bashir said that a number of other members of the ship's company had also posed for photographs next to the victim's bare bottom either sticking their tongues out or with their thumbs up.

He said: "Matters were to escalate rapidly. Donaldson took hold of a beer bottle and made a statement for those viewing the video of his intentions.

"When the neck of the bottle didn't go in far enough, with both hands he pushed to the base of the bottle to insert the whole neck of the bottle resulting in the complainant recoiling and waking up."

Mr Bashir said that the incident had been filmed by Leading Logistician Roger Spratt on Donaldson's mobile phone and photographs were also taken "for the amusement of others".

He continued: "To add to the humiliation of the complainant, the footage was emailed by Logistician Donaldson to himself to ensure a copy was kept on his computer for future use and he texted the footage, certainly to another member of the ship's company.

"He was showing the footage for his own amusement to the amusement of others of what he had done. Word quickly spread about what had happened and resulted in the complainant being ridiculed."

Mr Bashir said that the following morning the footage was shown around several members of the crew although those who received it have said they later deleted it although had said there was no way to confirm this.

In a statement read to the court, the victim said that he had drunk six cans of Bulmers cider in an hour which had caused him to vomit several times.

He said: "I was very drunk, for this to wake me up demonstrates the force used. At no time have I given anyone permission to touch me or carry out such an act."

Describing the strength of the act as being eight out of 10, he added: "I remember being woken by a feeling of intense pressure in my anus. This confused me as I didn't know what was going on."

The panel of senior officers judging the case were shown the video footage of the assault.

The trial was told that Donaldson does not deny carrying out the action although he cannot remember but denies that it was of a sexual nature.

Cook provided no comment when interviewed by police.

Mr Bashir said that 28-year-old Spratt had already been dealt with by the court. The trial continues.

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