British Army Private, 27, joked with a male soldier about ‘molesting’ two female colleagues hours before he sexually assaulted them, military court hears
A British Army soldier joked about ‘molesting’ two female colleagues hours before sexually assaulting them both, a court heard today.
Private Joshua Rideout allegedly groped his fellow soldiers while watching a film with them and is claimed to have even ripped apart the jeans one woman was wearing.
A court heard one of the women was on the phone to a male soldier when Pt Rideout ‘butted in’ and said, ‘do you want to help me molest these two girls?’
Later that evening, he is accused of sexually assaulting the same woman and her friend, while the three of them watched an Ice Age movie in her room.
Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, heard evidence from the female soldier, who said she and the other woman were ‘best friends’.
Private Joshua Rideout allegedly groped his fellow soldiers while watching a film with them and even ripped apart the jeans of one of the pair
Speaking about the ‘molest’ comment, she told the hearing: ‘I just thought it was a joke. I didn’t take it personally or seriously at the time.
‘After that I went back to my room and was just chilling.’
But the woman said she was joined later by her friend and Pt Rideout. She then went out to have a cigarette and make a phone call before returning to find the male soldier on top of her friend.
She said: ‘I came back into the room. I saw Pt Rideout with her phone in his hand. He was on top of her, he had his legs either side of her and with his legs he was pinning down her arms.
‘She said ‘help’… she was trying to get him off.
‘I just thought it was play-fighting. I walked out of the room, I didn’t think anything of it and went out to carry on my phone call.’
But when she came back and carried on watching the film, the other woman messaged her to say Pt Rideout had tried to sexually assault her and ignored her pleas for him to get away from her.
Despite this revelation, the three of them laid in bed together and carried on watching the film, as the female soldier told the court: ‘I find it hard to tell people to get out of my room.’
Pt Rideout allegedly ‘butted in’ one of the women’s phone calls by saying, ‘do you want to help me molest these two girls?’
Later, when the other woman had left the room, Pt Rideout turned his attention to this female soldier.
She said: ‘I already had massive holes in my jeans because that was the design of them. He said “I’ve got the urge to rip your jeans” or something like that and I said “don’t”.
‘We were sat on the bed and he literally just grabbed my jeans and started ripping them.
‘I told him to stop but he just carried on. He ended up ripping them from the top all the way down to the bottom.
‘[The other female soldier] came back in when he got to the bottom and she was trying to stop him from doing it.
‘It made me feel uncomfortable, I didn’t really know what to do… when I stood up to get changed he grabbed the leg of my jeans and you could see the bottom of my arse.’
Despite this incident, she got changed she returned to the bed with her friend and Pt Rideout and carried on watching the film.
As he lay next to her, she said he put his hand on her hip and then started touching her.
She said she told her friend by quietly typing it on her phone and showing her, so her friend put her arm around her to stop him touching her hip.
But the woman said Pt Rideout then started ‘thrusting’ at her. She told her friend again and they left to go for a cigarette.
The case is being heard at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire, where one of the woman gave evidence
They discussed what happened and called a friend to get Pt Rideout out of the room, then went and reported the incident to military police.
Jessica Clarke, defending, claimed there were differences between what the female soldier told police and what she had said in court.
Ms Clarke told the hearing: ‘The reason you are having difficulties remembering the detail is because in fact what you told the police happened isn’t true.
‘I suggest there was some sexual contact in the bed but that you initiated it… I suggest that this turned into a sexual assault allegation when you were outside talking.
‘I suggest that what happened in that room wasn’t sexual assault, it was consensual activity, but when you were retelling the story outside you said it was unwanted sexual attention from Pt Rideout.
‘Once you told that story once, you had to keep retelling it again and again and again.’
Pt Rideout, of 27 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, denies four charges of sexual assault by touching.
The trial continues.