Westminster rape trial: Accused aide to MP describes 'joshing around' with alleged victim

Samuel Armstrong, 24, is accused of raping a woman after a night of drinking at the Houses of Parliament

Sally Wardle,Luke Mintz
Tuesday 19 December 2017 11:43 GMT
Samuel Armstrong is charged with two counts of rape and one of sexual assault by penetration in the Houses of Parliament in October last year.
Samuel Armstrong is charged with two counts of rape and one of sexual assault by penetration in the Houses of Parliament in October last year. ( Victoria Jones/PA Images)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A Conservative MP's chief of staff accused of raping a woman has told a court the pair joked around as they had sex in his boss's Westminster office.

Samuel Armstrong, 24, said he felt like he had been punched in the stomach after he was arrested on 14 October and thought police had got the wrong man.

He is accused of abusing his position to attack a young parliamentary worker when she fell asleep after a night drinking in the Houses of Parliament.

Armstrong, an aide for South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, denies two counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of assault by penetration, claiming they had consensual sex.

Giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court, Armstrong told how the pair ended up alone in Mr Mackinlay's office in the early hours of the morning.

He said the complainant asked him to play jazz music and sat with him on a sofa, before jumping up and demanding: "Dance with me."

He said that they danced in the office and began kissing, before he performed oral sex on her as she sat on the sofa.

"She made all the appropriate noises," he told the court.

Armstrong said the couple then had sex in the missionary position for several minutes, but the complainant got up to change the music when a "mood-killer" song came on.

He said: "After a little while she said, 'some people are going to think that you have taken advantage of me', but it was in a sort of teasing voice.

"I responded, 'I'm not sure anyone could come to that conclusion'."

Armstrong said the woman then sat on top of him and they began to have sex.

He told the court: "I said to her, 'how does the size suit the lady?', which is something I have heard tailors say.

"And she says the size suits very, very well."

Defence barrister Sarah Forshaw QC said: "Were you being serious both of you during the course of this conversation?"

He replied: "We were joshing around and being funny.

"I was being a bit of a prat."

Armstrong, from Danbury in Essex, was arrested after the woman was captured on CCTV running through the corridors of Westminster in tears.

Describing how he felt when he was arrested, he said: "I didn't really know what to think. I thought there must have been some sort of mistake.

"It must have been that they had got the wrong name."

He added: "It was just like somebody had punched me in the stomach. I was winded."

Armstrong said he regretted having sex in his boss's office and added that his life had been turned upside down since the allegation was made last year.

He said: "It was foolish. It was an act of enormous foolishness and as a consequence I have had the worst year of my life."

He added that he had been unable to work or sleep and would "never, ever, ever" get his career back.

He said: "While what I did is foolish, the point is I'm innocent of this and for whatever reason somebody is trying to make a horrible, horrible, horrible allegation.

"The point is on this allegation, somebody is trying to send me to prison for a very long time for something I didn't do."

The trial continues.

PA

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in