Glasgow & West Scotland

Navy lieutenant sentenced over Faslane sexual assault

HMS Vanguard at Faslane Image copyright Getty Images

A navy lieutenant who sexually assaulted a female colleague at the Faslane nuclear base has been given a three-month suspended sentence.

A court martial trial found 26-year-old Basil Purdue guilty of groping the woman and making offensive remarks.

The incident happened in February 2015 as they showed sea cadets around the nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard, which was moored at the base in Argyll.

Purdue was also dismissed from the Navy and put on the sex offenders register.

The court martial of submariner Purdue was conducted at the Portsmouth Naval Base.

'Element of bullying'

A panel of senior officers sentenced him to a three-month prison sentence suspended for two years, dismissal with disgrace from the service and the payment of £750 compensation to the victim.

Judge Advocate Robert Hill told Purdue: "This was a sexual assault by an officer in circumstances where there was an element of bullying by saying you could get away with it because of your rank.

"This has affected her significantly. She was already miserable because of the sexualised banter of those of her own rank."

He added: "This was a gross dereliction of duty to behave in this way."

Captain Alison Towler, prosecuting, told the court that the victim had been left "humiliated and ashamed" by the assault and questioning her career in the Navy because she had lost her trust in men.

Victim's anger

Reading from the victim's impact statement, she said: "I have become frustrated and angry and do not know where to turn.

"I feel like I am falling into a vicious circle of being angry and sad and feel like I need to lash out. I wonder if the Royal Navy is for me, I am wondering if this could happen again.

"I have constantly battled to argue that women are equal in the Royal Navy but now I feel they are not."

Damian Hayes, defending, said that Purdue, who had been in the Navy for seven years, continued to deny the offence and said the conviction had destroyed his reputation as a man of "integrity, trustworthiness, support of others, Christian faith and positive attitude to life".

He added that Purdue, currently based at HMS Excellent, Portsmouth, had been supported throughout the trial by his parents and his wife, Helen, who had written a letter to the court describing the "happiness and strength of their marriage".

Mr Hayes said: "He has lost his good name and his good reputation and for the foreseeable future he will have to sign on as a sex offender, which is an every day reminder of his shame."

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites