Army officer accused of sexual assault says woman tried to kiss him

Married army officer accused of sexually assaulting female superior says she leapt into his arms and wrapped her legs around his thighs

  • Warrant Officer Peter Simons denied cornering superior and forcibly kissing her 
  • He told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that she had actually tried to kiss him
  • Serviceman of 23 years said he turned his head away and ‘didn’t fancy her at all’ 
  • A married Warrant Officer in the British Army accused of forcibly kissing a superior female officer in their office has told a court martial that it was her who leapt into his arms and wrapped her legs around his thighs – adding that he ‘didn’t fancy her at all’. 

    WO1 Peter Simons denied cornering his colleague, telling Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that later that day the pair embraced again and it was the female officer who actually tried to kiss him.

    The serviceman of 23 years told the hearing he turned his head away, adding: ‘I don’t want to cause her offence but I have no attraction to her whatsoever’.

    The female officer claims WO1 Simons sexually assaulted her by trapping her between desks, wrapping his arms around her, gazing into her eyes and pressing his lips against hers in a kiss which lasted ‘a couple of seconds’.

    She said: ‘I felt horrified and pushed him away with my hands to his chest. 

    ‘I said, “Don’t ever kiss me again”. I just wanted to get out of the office as quick as possible.’

    The court heard WO1 Simons and his superior female officer had been posted together on a British military base for a matter of weeks before the incident.

    WO1 Peter Simons (pictured) denied cornering his superior female colleague, telling Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that it was her who tried to kiss him

    WO1 Peter Simons (pictured) denied cornering his superior female colleague, telling Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire that it was her who tried to kiss him

    The pair had not long been working together and he had asked for ‘hugs’ and told her she was ‘cute’ after she became increasingly stressed due to an increased workload, the court was told.

    Giving evidence, WO1 Simons, who is hard of hearing as a result of his service in Iraq, said: ‘[When I arrived] I could see [the alleged victim] was really, really busy… we were both overwhelmed.

    ‘I realised we needed to build a rapport [in the office]. We broke down barriers quite quickly and had nice chats with each other. 

    ‘Within a couple of days the banter starts and the atmosphere becomes more relaxed.

    ‘Someone came into the office talking about Valentine’s cards, saying it was crap [being single] during Covid.

    ‘I was not interested in whether she was single or not, really. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I didn’t fancy her at all.’

    WO1 Simons insisted the female officer had instigated the kiss and that morning had rushed up to him and leapt into his arms to give him a ‘welcome’ hug.

    He said: ‘I came into the office at about half nine or a quarter to ten, after dropping my boys off at school.

    ‘[The female officer] rushed out and put her arms up as she approached me. I bent down and put my arms around her back – she was lifted off the ground and put her legs around my thighs.

    ‘A couple of hours later she was coming back into the office. I said, “Hug break” and held my arms out.

    ‘We hugged the same as before and there was a real closeness… her head was touching my chin.

    ‘Then we both pulled back and were staring into each others’ eyes. At that moment we started moving towards each other, and it was like, “We are going to kiss”.

    ‘I just thought, “abort”. I turned my head to avoid it and there was a clash of cheeks – no kiss. It was awkward and she went absolutely bright red.

    ‘I said, “Sorry about that” and she said, “Me too.” She went to the shops and when she came back you could feel the atmosphere in the office… it was tense.

    The pair had not long been working together and he had asked for 'hugs' and told her she was 'cute' after she became increasingly stressed due to an increased workload, the court was told (Pictured: Bulford Military Court)

    The pair had not long been working together and he had asked for ‘hugs’ and told her she was ‘cute’ after she became increasingly stressed due to an increased workload, the court was told (Pictured: Bulford Military Court) 

    ‘Just before leaving that day, I said, “I’m sorry about that… I’m a dickhead” and she just went “apology accepted”.

    ‘To be honest, I was a bit perturbed that she didn’t say sorry back. There were two people involved.

    ‘She tried to kiss me and I stopped it. I don’t want to cause her offence but I have no attraction to her whatsoever.’

    WO1 Simons, of 3rd Regiment Royal Military Police, told the court he had ‘a lot going on’ at home at the time, with his wife taking on a new job and the devastating news of a close relative’s breast cancer diagnosis.

    Prosecutor William Peters previously told the court martial: ‘He nuzzled his face into [the victim’s], lunged forward and kissed her on the lips.

    ‘She was stunned but managed to push him away and told him not to kiss her ever again. She was left shocked.

    ‘That night she decided to make a formal complaint.’

    WO1 Simons denies a charge of sexual assault.

    The trial continues.