Army officer denies Uganda rape attack

Abbey Wood Image copyright Google
Image caption Lt Col Tomkins is based at the Ministry of Defence centre at Abbey Wood, near Bristol

A married British Army officer denies raping a young female colleague at a UN event in Uganda, a court martial has heard.

Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Tomkins, 49, of Defence, Equipment and Support, based at Abbey Wood, near Bristol, is facing trial in the US.

He allegedly attacked the woman in her hotel room where he went under false pretences after a drinks reception.

The woman told the court Mr Tomkins was "very aggressive" and "took control".

'No talking'

The trial is being heard at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. It is the first-ever court martial which will be held in the US and UK to allow more witnesses to testify.

The court heard that Mr Tomkins said he had had sexual activity with the woman, which "wasn't rose petals or cupid's arrows, it was fairly animal".

The incident is alleged to have happened after a dinner and a drinks reception at the Sheraton Hotel, Kampala, on 7 January 2015.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The alleged rape took place after a drinks reception at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, Uganda

By the end of the evening, the young woman said she was "very drunk" when Mr Tomkins went to her hotel room.

"There was no talking, no romantic lead up to something that I recall. He did get much more aggressive and used some level of force to take things further," she said.

"The room was spinning, it was a very brief memory."

They later exchanged messages and he thanked her for a "wonderful evening" to which she agreed. She told investigators she initially feared reporting the incident in case it would harm her career.

The case is expected to resume in Bulford, Wiltshire, on Monday.

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