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Navy officer cadet admits climbing back into bed with rape accused

Published 02/06/2016

The offences are alleged to have taken place at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth
The offences are alleged to have taken place at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth

A Royal Navy officer cadet has admitted that she climbed back into bed with the man she alleges raped her twice following a training college ball while she was "too drunk to consent".

Samuel Mitchell, who is now a sub lieutenant, is accused of going into the room of the cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, Devon, following a Victory in Europe Day party on May 8 last year.

The 27-year-old is accused at a trial at Portsmouth Naval Base's court martial centre of raping her without a condom and then fetching a condom when she protested against him not using contraception, before raping her a second time.

He denies two counts of rape.

The complainant has said that she was too drunk to consent and had remained passive during the incident to express her non-compliance.

The court has heard that she had drunk four glasses of Pimms, a glass of red wine, some Champagne, and a double gin and tonic and had been carried back to her room by her friends.

Nick Lewin, defending Mitchell, said to her: "After a period of time, you have sobered up somewhat, after you had no doubt what Mitchell was, you got dressed into your pyjamas and you got back into bed with a man who has raped you twice, Why?"

She replied: "All I can say is I wanted to fall asleep, I can't explain more than that, I think I couldn't process, I just wanted to fall asleep, that's all I can remember."

The complainant also admitted that when asked by Mitchell for baby oil, she had handed him a tub of moisturiser, which he then massaged on her back.

She said: "This is one of the things I have struggled with, I became compliant, I cannot explain that, that was one of the points where I became compliant."

The complainant has described how she had been unable to "articulate" her wish not to have sex with the defendant other than by remaining passive, and early on crossing her arms across her chest and saying "No sex".

She also said that she had said "No" when he asked for a naked cuddle afterwards and when he said he would "f***" her again in the morning, she said "No you won't."

She said: "I have struggled over the past year why I wasn't able to articulate anything any differently, but the meaning was obvious, there was no consent whatsoever.

"It was more in my actions that I was able to articulate effectively, that I was completely passive, that I put my arms across my chest and it was obvious from the start that I was not complicit."

She added: "I had been returned to my room, I was asleep in my cabin and he entered my cabin uninvited, I think the starting point is I wasn't a willing participant in this at all."

Admitting that she experienced an orgasm, she said: "That was an involuntary reaction. It's at that point I grabbed hold of him but it was not something I wished to happen. It was an involuntary reaction and it's not something I fully understand.

"It was after I had been violated, to me that was not consent. I have struggled to explain to myself what happened, I have managed by suppressing much of it, I will have to deal with it later."

The complainant broke down in tears and took a break from giving evidence when she described how she found it difficult to confide in friends and family about what had happened.

The court heard that at 6.34am the following morning, and after Mitchell had left her room, she carried out internet searches for pharmacies selling the morning after pill and she also looked at Mitchell's Facebook page.

She described how she did later go to Dartmouth to purchase the medication. She also carried out internet research the following day on the legal definition of rape.

She said: "I knew at the time that what happened was not right, I was probably naive not to know the legal definition of rape, I realised it was rape, I always thought rape was violent, tied up, I had not been able to fight him, I blamed myself."

The complainant also admitted that she had gone to Mitchell's room later that day to return his cufflinks and had threatened to wreck his career if he told anyone about the incident.

She said: "I have admitted that happened, I am not particularly proud of that, I was just distressed, I didn't know how to deal with these things."

When asked by Mr Lewin if she was attempting to protect her naval career, the complainant, who has been described as "ambitious", said: "If I got caught I would have come forward to face the consequences.

"I didn't know the direct penalty if you are caught having sex in college rooms, no-one seemed to be getting chucked out for it.

"Had it happened, I would have to take responsibility for my actions even if it meant I had thrown away my career.

"But I could not have professionally gone forward and have this hidden away and have this covered up and not have the courage to come forward to report it."

She added: "I didn't break rules, I was raped."

The court heard that in the days after the incident, she wrote a document about what had happened, which included the line: "I remember worrying that he was being loud, was scared others will find out."

When asked by Mr Lewin if she was scared of people finding out, she replied: "I just remember being scared, I remember the point when it was at its most violent, when he said 'I want to f*** your brains out', when my head was hitting the shelves.

"I would have wanted someone to find out, I can't explain why I didn't scream, why I didn't put up resistance, I just say that I didn't, if someone had come and stopped him obviously I would have wanted that, I just can't tell you why I couldn't resist."

The trial continues.

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