Secretary knew aide was gay, sex case tribunal told

A secretary who claims she was sexually harassed by a senior member of the Prince of Wales's staff knew he was gay, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.

Elaine Day, 45, worked as a personal assistant at Clarence House for five years before leaving earlier this year. She alleges that she was one of three members of staff sexually harassed by the Prince's assistant private secretary Paul Kefford.

The tribunal in Croydon, south-east London, has heard that Mr Kefford "frequently" approached Ms Day while she was photocopying or in the kitchen, and would inappropriately rub her back or touch her shoulder.

The incidents were alleged to have started in August 2002. Cross-examining Ms Day yesterday, counsel for Clarence House, Adam Tolley, said that she was "well aware of Mr Kefford's sexuality".

Ms Day said: "I'd been told he was homosexual." Mr Tolley said that meant she knew that Mr Kefford was "no sexual threat" and that any contact would have been "innocuous". But Ms Day replied: "I did feel very threatened by him."

Ms Day, who is single and from Belvedere in south-east London, is claiming sex discrimination and unfair dismissal against the Prince of Wales's household.

The case continues.