Jump-jet engines 'hid noise of sex sessions'

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The Independent Online
HARRIER Jump-jets taking off and landing helped hide the noise of a Wren's sex sessions in her aircraft carrier cabin, a court martial heard yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel Keith Pople, 42, told the hearing that his lover, Lieutenant Commander Karen Pearce, admitted flying operations had helped hide her affair with a third officer, Lieutenant Nigel Mc Tear.

Lt Col Pople said he was "devastated" when he learned of her relationship with Lt McTear and demanded to know how the relationship had been possible on board the HMS Illustrious.

"I asked her how it was possible to have sex in a cabin on a warship with so many people close by, because I knew she was quite vocal when she had sex," Lt Col Pople said.

She told him that it was not possible when the ship was in harbour and quiet, but the best time when they were on flying operations and there was a lot of noise.

Col Pople said she described arranging bedding and cushions on the floor of her cabin for sex. Cdr Pearce has denied having sex in her cabin with Lt McTear, but has admitted intercourse in a hire car during a visit to Malta.

Earlier in the hearing at Aldershot, Hampshire, Col Pople told how he fell in love with the 34-year-old woman officer when they worked together in London. Their relationship had started off as sexual in November 1993, and he knew it was "very dangerous".

They gradually become more emotionally involved and Col Pople separated from his wife, Brenda, in November 1995.

However, when he and Cdr Pearce were sent to separate postings, he was alarmed when she admitted forming an attachment with Lt McTear. Despite his shock, Col Pople said he was prepared to carry on the relationship. "I was sure I loved her," he said.

But his confidence in Cdr Pearce was shaken for a second time when he discovered a cache of love letters under her bed.

"There were letters and cards in several different styles of handwriting," he said. Some, although not sexually explicit, were "extremely warm" in tone.

Col Pople said the same week as he discovered the letters Cdr Pearce had told him that he would have to sever all financial links with his wife and children if they were to be together.

But he had always determined to support his family and told the hearing: "I realised I simply could not make Cdr Pearce happy in the way she required."

He told her he believed the relationship should finish. It did, but they met one more time and had sexual intercourse. The next day he confronted about her relationship with Lt McTear and warned her that she needed to be careful about the way she was behaving.

Col Pople denies conduct to the prejudice of good order and scandalous conduct unbecoming the character of an officer.

His wife, Brenda, with whom he was reconciled after the affair, watched him give evidence yesterday.