Royal Navy engineer, 31, is cleared of allegations he sexually assaulted female colleague at a party on board HMS Defender
A Royal Navy engineer has been cleared of sexually assaulting a female colleague during a party on HMS Defender.
The woman claimed Leading Engineering Technician Danny Holmes, 31, ‘couldn’t keep his hands to himself’ at the celebratory evening aboard the Type 45 warship during a deployment to the Gulf.
However, LET Holmes claimed the ‘humiliated’ woman fabricated the allegations when she was caught stealing a bottle of wine and insisted he did not touch his colleague at all.
He was found not guilty of two counts of sexual assault by touching at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire on Tuesday.
The court heard HMS Defender’s crew were celebrating and enjoying a meal on the night of the alleged incident, before the female sailor entered a mess and claimed to have been touched.
LET Danny Holmes pictured outside Bulford Military Court, where he was acquitted of two counts of sexual assault by touching
Later on in the evening, he attempted to resolve the situation with the ‘very drunk’ woman, but was instead accused of groping her bottom.
LET Holmes, though, told the court the young woman had become ‘annoyed’ after admitting taking his drink, having initially denied it.
He argued she became so embarrassed after being caught that she fabricated the allegations.
Other witnesses said it seemed as though she were ‘taking her anger out’ on LET Holmes, who has served in the Navy for 13 years.
He told the court: ‘I only knew [the alleged victim] as another member of the ships’ company; we had no friendship or relationship.
‘I had a couple of tinnies and bought a bottle of wine from the bar. I put it in the middle mess on the way to the toilet, and when I came back it wasn’t there.
‘I saw [the alleged victim] was drinking it… She denied it was my bottle and said she had bought it herself.
‘When I pointed out she couldn’t have just bought it because half had already been drunk, she sort of admitted it. She was annoyed.’
LET Holmes added that he later tried to resolve the issue with his colleague, but got no answer to his shouts of her name.
LET Holmes claimed the ‘humiliated’ woman fabricated the allegations when she was caught stealing a bottle of wine and insisted he did not touch his colleague at all
The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender pictured arriving at the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, on June 18 earlier this year
He said he later saw her get ‘upset’ but ‘didn’t know’ what about, and was told by a colleague of the allegations made against him when he returned to his cabin.
The engineer added he was ‘surprised and wasn’t sure what to make of all of it.’
Further witnesses told the court martial the woman was drunk to the point of ‘hysterics’.
ET Erin Eitkin said: ‘She [the alleged victim] was slurring her words… her eyes were glazed over [and] she smelled strongly of alcohol and was swaying about when she was speaking to me.
‘At one stage she was not making any sense and I couldn’t make out what she was saying.
‘She never actually said what had or had not happened.’
A board of military personnel deliberated for nearly two hours before finding LET Holmes not guilty of both charges.