Tory peer grabbed woman’s buttocks as she gave him massage and asked if she ‘did extras’, court hears

Lord Christopher Holmes stands trial for sexual assault 

Rory Sullivan@RorySullivan92
Wednesday 04 March 2020 17:49
Baron Holmes of Richmond (left) leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court where he appeared on charges of sexual assault on 22 July 2019.
Baron Holmes of Richmond (left) leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court where he appeared on charges of sexual assault on 22 July 2019.

A Tory peer grabbed a woman’s buttocks while she massaged him and asked if she “did extras”, a court has heard.

Lord Christopher Holmes of Richmond, 48, a blind Paralympic swimming champion who took his place in the House of Lords in 2013, denies sexual assaulting the masseuse on March 7, 2019.

His trial started at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Linda Strudwick told the jury: “He asked ‘Can I see how you look?’ (She) was unsure of what he meant but assumed that it was whether could he touch her face.”

Ms Strudwick added that the woman agreed, “thinking that this was what blind people do”.

The defendant admitted that he then touched the woman on her face, shoulders, sides and rested his hands around the level of her hips.

Jurors heard that she then tried to move away.

At this point, he is alleged to have stopped her by grabbing her buttocks and to have asked whether he could touch her breasts.

Afterwards, Holmes supposedly asked her if she “did extras”, pointing towards his crotch.

The jury was also told that Mr Holmes, as he is referred to in court, had earlier asked the woman to “go higher if she wanted to” while she massaged his thigh.

He also asked to remove the disposal underwear given to him for the massage, after they had become torn.

Ms Strudwick said: “The prosecution suggest that, given the situation and what happened next, this was a deliberate sexual assault, or sexual touching.

“Mr Holmes, we say, wanted more than a massage.”

Holmes denies grabbing the woman, pointing to his groin or seeking sexual services, saying he only lightly touched her.

In a statement read out in the courtroom, Mr Holmes told police: “It is obviously a bit strange to be massaged by someone without knowing what they look like.”

The statement continued: “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.

“It was purely to give me an idea of her appearance.”

The trial continues.

Additional reporting from PA

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