I was too scared to call for help, alleged victim tells Salmond trial

A former Scottish Government official who has accused Alex Salmond of sexual assault said she was “too scared” to call for help at Bute House.

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

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

Bute House
The woman gave evidence about two alleged incidents at Bute House (Jane Barlow/PA)

Shelagh McCall QC, representing Salmond, asked on Tuesday why the woman had not called for a security guard to help that night.

The prosecution witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I really wish that I had. I was scared, I was embarrassed and humiliated.

“Looking back I wish I had screamed, I wish I had physically reacted but I just turned to stone.”

Ms McCall QC had earlier asked whether the woman had been encouraged by others to speak to Police Scotland after reports emerged in August 2018 that Salmond was being investigated.

The court heard the woman had been in contact with a number of people before talking to police.

She said: “There’s no-one cheerleading me to do this. This isn’t fun, I would rather not be here.

“I don’t feel like I have been encouraged, I feel I have made this decision on my own.”

It was also heard the witness had been in contact with someone in 2015 about a personal political project in which she said she would work with Salmond again, around a year after the alleged sexual assaults were said to take place.

The court heard the witness, known as Woman H, had been in contact with another complainer in the case, known as Woman J.

Text messages apparently sent between the two were shown ​in court.

The messages were said to have been exchanged after the allegations about Salmond surfaced in newspapers and discussed the “AS stuff”.

An apparent text from Woman H to Woman J shown in court said: “I have a plan. And means we can be anonymous but see strong repercussions.”

Woman H said the repercussions were to do with the party and police taking action.

The witness earlier told the court she began to suffer flashbacks after the Harvey Weinstein scandal emerged.

She said: “I had started to learn about (the MeToo movement), yes. It was just around that time.

“It was on the back of the Harvey Weinstein case.

“These issues started to be discussed and I started to have what I could describe as flashbacks.”

The woman previously told the court on Monday that she felt “hunted” by Salmond moments before an alleged attempted rape in Bute House.

Evidence was also given about an alleged sexual assault in Bute House beforehand in May 2014.

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

The charges span a period between June 29 2008 and November 11 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place in the month of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

The trial, before judge Lady Dorrian, continues.

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