Bristol

British Army officer rape trial: 'Waiter told to keep filling wine glass'

William A. Jones III Building on Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, USA Image copyright PA
Image caption The first half of the trial is taking place at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland

A British Army officer accused of rape encouraged waiters to keep filling the wine glass of his alleged victim in the lead up to the attack, a US court martial has heard.

Lt Col Benedict Tomkins, 49, based at Abbey Wood, near Bristol, denies rape, saying it was consensual sex.

The court heard he had stopped drinking but encouraged the server to keep filling the woman's glass.

The alleged attack happened at a United Nations event in Uganda in 2015.

Lt Col Tomkins is said to have attacked the woman after a dinner and free bar at the Sheraton Hotel.

The US court martial at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland heard from a report made to the FBI from the complainant a month later.

'Hazy recollection'

Giving evidence, FBI Special Agent Ronald Brown said: "She said every time her glass was partially empty of wine the server kept filling it up.

"At some point it seemed Colonel Tomkins stopped drinking but encouraged the server to keep filling her glass."

The complainant previously told the court she could not remember whose suggestion it was to work on a presentation in her room and had said her recollection was "hazy".

But the agent said: "She thinks she suggested doing this in the hotel lobby but Colonel Tomkins suggested doing it in her hotel room because that's where her notes were."

The complainant says Lt Col Tomkins' "overpowered" her and she was also too drunk to consent to sex.

The court heard an interview with Lt Col Tomkins in April 2015. He alleged her claim was "malicious" in order to mask her "professional shortcomings".

He said: "I can only guess it was brought about by some personal distress in her life.

"In such a wreck, she might make a false allegation."

He believed she was "sober and competent to make a reasonable decision".

The trial continues.

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