Lord Holmes of Richmond 'grabbed woman's buttocks' during massage

  • Published
Lord Holmes of Richmond leaves Southwark Crown Court, in London, where he is due to stand trial for sexual assault.Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
As Christopher Holmes, he represented Great Britain at four Paralympic Games

A Paralympic swimming champion grabbed a massage therapist's buttocks during a treatment and asked if she "did extras", a court has heard.

Lord Holmes of Richmond, who is blind, told police he touched the woman on her face and shoulders, Southwark Crown Court was told.

However, he denies sexually assaulting her as she massaged him at a five-star hotel in central London last March.

He was elevated to the House of Lords by the Conservatives in 2013.

Prosecutor Linda Strudwick told jurors the 48-year-old peer groped the woman near the end of his 90-minute treatment on 7 March 2019.

Ms Strudwick said: "He asked: 'Can I see how you look?'"

The woman was "unsure of what he meant" but agreed, assuming he would touch her face as she thought "this was what blind people do", the court heard.

Image source, BBC
Image caption,
The former swimmer ran Paralympic integration for the 2012 Games and took his seat at the House of Lords the following year

In a statement given to police that was heard in court, Lord Holmes said he touched the woman on her face and shoulders before resting his hands on her around the level of her hips.

Jurors were told she then tried to move away.

Ms Strudwick continued: "Mr Holmes stopped her by grabbing her buttocks. He said 'nice' and he asked if he could touch her boobs."

He then asked if she "did extras", while pointing to his crotch, the court heard.

'No intention'

Lord Holmes told police: "It is obviously a bit strange to be massaged by someone without knowing what they look like.

"As I am basing my recollection only on touch, I cannot be sure exactly where my hands rested but there was absolutely no intention to touch her in a sexual way."

The Paralympian, who won nine gold medals and broke 35 world records during his swimming career, is currently non-affiliated and does not belong to any parliamentary group.

The trial continues.

Related Internet Links

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