A teenage officer cadet allegedly raped by the captain of a Royal Navy ship didn’t report it for three months because she was ‘scared’ and ’embarrassed’, a court martial has heard.
The young woman said she didn’t feel ‘comfortable’ after she was allegedly sexually abused by Lieutenant Rhys Christie following two nights out.
A military court has heard Royal Navy officer Lt Christie, 28, ‘exploited’ the then-18-year-old in his hotel room after she got so drunk she vomited and lost all memory.
Lt Christie, the commanding officer of Edinburgh-based HMS Archer, is accused of ‘abusing his authority’ and was said to have told her after ‘you were asking for it’.
Prosecutor William Peters said Lt Christie raped the woman – who can’t be named for legal reasons – in Eyemouth, Scotland, and weeks later in Ramsgate, Kent.
Now, the cadet, who had consensual sex with Lt Christie in between the two alleged rapes, has said she didn’t report the offences immediately because she didn’t feel ‘comfortable’.
Christie, pictured on board the HMS Archer, insisted on taking his drunk, teenage victim, back to a hotel room, despite protests from colleagues during a Navy night out at a pub, a trial heard
Christie now serves on the nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance. Prosecutors pointed out ‘age and rank disparity,’ between the lieutenant and the 18-year-old woman he is accused of raping
Speaking at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, the cadet said she was asked where she had been by a colleague when she turned up to work late but couldn’t tell them.
She said: ‘I was embarrassed about what happened.
‘I didn’t tell anyone because I’m not an open person, I don’t like speaking about myself. I keep myself to myself.’
She added: ‘I was scared in a sense… I didn’t know how to put it out to people.’
Ellie Fargin, defending Lt Christie, argued that the victim’s embarrassment at having sex with the officer caused her to allege she was too drunk to consent to sex when she reported it three months later.
Miss Fargin argued: ‘This all got out of hand, it started to grow and everyone started to find out about it.
‘Because more and more people were talking about it, you felt like you had to say you were too drunk because you were embarrassed about having a sexual relationship.’
Miss Fargin claimed the cadet had flirted with Lt Christie before the two offences, was ‘passionate’ and initiated some of the sexual contact.
The cadet denied all these claims.
Prosecutors say Christie’s victim was too drunk to properly consent to have sex with him
It was also heard Lt Christie was removed from HMS Archer when the ship became aware he spent the night with an officer cadet and gave a speech to crew saying he ‘done wrong’.
Officer Cadet Lee Emerson, who was drinking with Lt Christie and the cadet in Eyemouth, and Sub Lieutenant JJ Brown, who was drinking with them in Ramsgate, both told the court the woman was so drunk she struggled to walk.
OC Emerson said she vomited on the table, could ‘walk unaided but was not fully in control’, and said her ‘demeanour’ changed and she was no longer her ‘bubbly’ self.
Sub Lt Brown said the cadet knocked into a table or chair while staggering around a pub and was later ‘intercepted’ by Lt Christie who took her to his hotel when a sailor was escorting her back to her accommodation.
Lt Rhys Christie was described as a ‘predator’, at court martial where he is accused rape
The court previously heard the woman said she woke up ‘confused and drunk’ in his room.
The officer cadet recalled how she drifted in and out of sleep but was alarmed to discover she was naked so covered herself with bed sheets.
She said: ‘I was confused, drunk and not aware of where I was.
‘He came out of the bathroom, he walked over to me, crawled up on the bottom of the bed, climbed on top of me and continued up.
‘It got to the point where he was positioned right in front of my head and his knees were beside my shoulders, I couldn’t move myself up.
‘I was almost in shock. Because of the drink I was not fully aware of what was going on.’
She added: ‘[When I woke up again] he said I was all over him and that I had been asking for it. I was just confused.’
The 28-year-old was a commanding officer on the HMS Archer. Christie denies five counts of rape which are alleged to have happened in Eyemouth, Scotland and in Ramsgate, Kent
The woman told how she woke up confused in Christie’s hotel bed for a second time just weeks later, having been ‘extremely drunk’ the night before.
She told the hearing how she tried to leave the bed after realising Christie was behind her. She said she was ‘pinned down,’ and unable to move during the attack.
Lt Christie, now of nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance, is charged with five counts of rape. The charges comprise of vaginal and oral rape over the course of the two incidents.
Prosecutor Mr Peters said because the cadet consented to sex on one occasion with Lt Christie, it does not provide ‘blanket consent’ for the two alleged rapes.
The trial continues.