Female sailor on HMS Queen Elizabeth is cleared of sexually assaulting a colleague in bed – after claiming her alleged victim was ‘jealous’ of the relationship she had with another female sailor
Petty Officer Christina Reaney was this afternoon cleared of sexual assault – after claiming her alleged victim was ‘jealous’ of the relationship she had with another female sailor.
The Royal Navy policewoman insisted she never ‘caressed’ her colleague’s breast in bed and did not suggest she had a ‘sex dream’ about her.
Her alleged victim claimed to have found PO Reaney ‘naked’ in bed with a third female sailor onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth but PO Reaney disputed that too.
Giving evidence, she said the alleged victim had fancied the third sailor, who was a friend of PO Reaney.
PO Reaney said: ‘She told me she fancied her, it was my understanding she wanted a sexual relationship.’
Bulford Military Court, Wilts, heard the alleged victim left a note for the third sailor inviting her to ‘spoon her into oblivion’.
Barrister Callum Munday, defending PO Reaney, said: ‘[The alleged victim] fancied her, she had a crush on her and she was jealous of how close PO Reaney and her were.’
The alleged victim admitted she had a ‘crush’ on the woman but denied being jealous.
The panel of five Royal Navy officers deliberated for just 25 minutes before acquitting PO Reaney of sexual assault.
When the verdict was delivered, PO Reaney closed her eyes, then bowed her head and wept.
Petty Officer Christina Reaney (pictured at Bulford Military Court Centre) is accused of touching a colleague’s breast in her bed aboard the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth
She allegedly also suggested she had had a ‘sex dream’ about the victim, a court martial heard
Reaney was initially accused of climbing into the female sailor’s top bunk onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth and ‘caressing’ her body with her fingers, a court martial heard.
The court martial heard the alleged assault occurred on the £3 billion aircraft carrier, based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, while it was at sea.
Entering service in 2020, the 65,000-tonne behemoth is the largest and most powerful ship ever built by the Navy and serves as its Fleet Flagship.
PO Reaney – of the Royal Navy Police – had been drinking brandy in the ship’s mess on the evening of the incident, Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, heard.
Her alleged victim, who can’t be identified due to legal reasons, told the court around 11pm she opened a cabin door and found PO Reaney ‘naked as the day she was born’ in bed with another female sailor, who was fully clothed.
The third woman later left and PO Reaney was ‘quite giggly and found the situation to be quite funny’, the alleged victim told the court.
She said PO Reaney, who had got dressed into pyjamas at this point, ‘was drunk and could not stand up without the support of the desk’.
Then, the female sailor said, PO Reaney climbed into the top bunk and ‘nonchalantly’ caressed her sexually while still talking.
Around 1,600 people work on the 280 metre warship (pictured) that is capable of carrying 40 aircraft
She said: ‘She proceeded to climb into bed with me and climbed over me so she had her back against the wall and she was facing me.
‘She was carrying on with the conversation and as she was talking about her night she started touching me over my clothing with her fingertips.
‘It was quite a casual movement, but she was stroking up and down on my body.
‘She first touched me on the waist, it was like when you are in bed with your partner and they are caressing you.
‘Then, she traced up to my breast and circled it and put her fingertips back down. She was just caressing me and then put the tips of her fingers on my waist band.
‘I was frozen and I didn’t know how to react, I didn’t say anything.
‘I didn’t want to give it any more attention and make it a more hostile environment.
‘It was not something I was expecting, she was not invited, it was a new experience, intrusive and a massive invasion of my space.
‘She didn’t talk about what she was doing, she just carried on quite nonchalantly.’
The sailor said she got out of bed to brush her teeth as a ‘strong hint’ to get PO Reaney out of her bed.
She said: ‘She then followed me out of bed and she embraced me from behind and was hugging me.
‘She asked “how do you let someone know that you had a sex dream about them?”
‘I just said “you don’t”. I was very uncomfortable and tried to unpeel her arms from me.
‘I think she felt like it was harmless flirting, I was mortified and uncomfortable, angry, upset and confused as to what had happened.’
The woman said before the alleged incident she had a ‘good professional’ relationship with PO Reaney.
PO Reaney denies the incident ever happening and has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault.
She claims the alleged victim was ‘jealous’ of her over her friendship with the third woman, as she had previously left a note inviting her to spoon her.
When giving evidence, the alleged victim admitted she had a ‘crush’ on the third sailor but insisted she was not jealous and not making up allegations.
PO Reaney also denies being naked in bed with the woman. The court later heard there is no evidence to suggest she was being intimate with her.