Woman allegedly raped by British Army officer 'too drunk to consent to sex'

Updated: 

A subordinate servicewoman who has accused a married British Army officer of raping her has told a US court martial that she was too drunk to consent to sex.

Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Tomkins, 49, of Defence, Equipment and Support, attacked the woman after an alcohol-fuelled United Nations conference in Uganda, according to prosecutors.

The high-ranking officer, who has completed two tours of Afghanistan, allegedly entered her room at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala under the pretences of working on a presentation.

But the woman claims he "instantly" unzipped her dress and forced himself on her when she shunned his advances on the night of January 7 2015.

Giving evidence behind a screen at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday, she said her memory was "hazy" but denied the officer's description of consensual sex preceded by foreplay.

"I know I was too drunk to consent to any of that, if any of that happened," she said.

Peter Glesner, defending Tomkins, replied: "You were sober enough to collaborate with a senior British officer on a presentation but too drunk to consent to sex?"

The lawyer, at the first ever court martial to be held in both the UK and the US, accused her of "exaggerating" her drunkenness.

The woman also accused Tomkins, an officer of the Rifles regiment, based at Abbey Wood, near Bristol, of sending her affectionate messages in an attempt to roll back on his actions.

Tomkins wrote to her in the weeks after the alleged attack asking if she used him to "scratch an itch", adding: "I thought you were something a bit special."

She told the court: "I know what happened was wrong, it was a rape, and it seemed like he was trying to back out of it at that point."

The court previously heard that Tomkins believes her complaint is "malicious" and that he told investigators the sex was consensual, but added: "It wasn't rose petals or cupid's arrow, it was fairly animal."

The trial, in front of Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett and a jury of seven Army officers, will head back to the UK in Bulford, Wiltshire, on Monday.

Tomkins denies one count of rape between January 6-9 2015.