Woman 'laughed and joked' after alleged rape

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The Independent Online
A MINISTRY of Defence clerk who says she was raped on board a warship by a naval policeman was 'laughing and joking' when she returned to a party in the chief petty officer's mess, a court was told yesterday.

But the woman told the jury at Plymouth Crown Court: 'I didn't want anyone else to know what had gone on because I was so ashamed. I hadn't agreed to do anything.'

Barry Chamberlain, 41, of Sawtry, Cambridgeshire, who was Master at Arms aboard HMS Marlborough when it anchored in London in March 1993, denies rape, attempted rape, and indecent assault.

The woman, who has told the court she was a 20-year-old virgin at the time, told Brian Higgs QC, for the defence, that she did not go willingly into Mr Chamberlain's cabin after he gave her a tour of the ship.

She agreed she had to put one foot on a chair to get on to a table to get into a bunk in the cabin, but said she got up because she did not know what he would do. She had not got up there voluntarily. 'I got up because I was told to,' she said.

She could not remember changing her story and saying she was lifted into the bunk. She agreed she probably made it easy for Mr Chamberlain by lying on her back. She then returned to the mess where the party was being held.

Mr Chamberlain had said something about going to a hotel and carrying on where they left off, but she said no, she said.

She denied walking into the mess hand-in-hand with Mr Chamberlain. She added: 'I can't remember whether I was laughing when I walked in. The others were laughing and joking about how long we had been away.'

Leading Wren Michelle Blanchard said said the woman was laughing and joking, responding to jokes about how long she had been away 'in a good-humoured way', but later became distressed, telling her that she did not want to talk about what had happened.

Mark Harrison, a former colleague of Mr Chamberlain at the MoD, said the defendant had told him in a telephone call that he was 'going to get his end away' that evening. Mr Harrison said that when he arrived at the ship to collect his mother-in-law, who also worked at the MoD and was a guest at the party, Mr Chamberlain told him: 'Your mother-in- law isn't very happy with me because she has caught me giving one to the girl.'

Mr Harrison said that Mr Chamberlain did not seem worried about any possible investigation and added: 'He seemed quite proud of it.'

The trial resumes today.