‘Sex assault’ complainant has notes from counselling sessions read in court

PA

A masseuse allegedly sexually assaulted by a blind peer has had her comments made in counselling sessions read out in court amid defence claims she was exaggerating or overthinking.

Lord Holmes of Richmond, one of the UK’s most successful Paralympians, is accused of groping the woman’s bottom and asking if she did “extras” while pointing at his crotch on March 7 last year.

The 48-year-old, a nine-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist, faces one count of sexual assault for allegedly grabbing the woman under the guise of seeing what she looked like.

The alleged incident occurred towards the end of a 90-minute deep tissue massage at a five star hotel in London, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Holmes’ defence team was given notes from the complainant’s counselling sessions, text from arguments with her boyfriend and her victim impact statement.

Sarah Forshaw QC, for Holmes, asked her: “Would you agree that you exaggerate?

“Sometimes you overthink things?

“You get things in your head that aren’t true.”

The witness denied exaggerating her evidence or overthinking the incident.

Reading from the complainant’s impact statement, Ms Forshaw said: “This has impacted me, since this incident my whole life has turned upside down.”

Ms Forshaw said: “That’s not true, because a client, on your account, touched your bottom over clothing on one occasion?

“You are rewriting history to fit your account of what happened, I’m going to suggest that.”

In the victim impact statement, usually read out in court at a sentencing hearing, the complainant said the incident had impacted her relationship with her boyfriend.

The jury was read a series of arguments the couple had had over WhatsApp about her boyfriend’s smelly car and his cooking long before the alleged assault by Holmes.

The court also heard the complainant had referred to the incident as “my sexual abuse” in her impact statement and in conversations with a counsellor.

She and her counsellor had also drawn up a “protection plan” to protect her from domestic violence, although the complainant admitted her boyfriend had never been violent towards her.

The defence referred to the fact the witness had complained to her boyfriend two of her exes were “stalking” her after one liked a social media post and she bumped into the other in Tesco.

The witness said she had just had normal disagreements with her boyfriend.

She said “stalking” was just a turn of phrase when someone goes through another person’s social media account.

The jury was told that, in December of 2019, the complainant was charged with assault of a police officer following a boozy brunch in Brixton.

She told her counsellor the police had broken both her wrists as they handcuffed her, although the defence claims she was actually treated for soft tissue damage.

Holmes, who has been completely blind since the age of 14, denies any wrongdoing but accepted asking to touch the complainant to get an idea of what she looked like.

As well as athletics, he has had a successful career as a solicitor, graduating from Cambridge with a degree in law in 2002.

Ms Forshaw told the witness: “You’ve got it it into your head that someone took advantage of you in a sexual way, the rest of this (account) is colour because you’ve convinced yourself this is a sexual assault.”

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