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  1. ITV Report

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond pleads not guilty to attempted rape and sexual assaults

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Editor Peter Smith

Alex Salmond has pleaded not guilty to attempting to rape a woman at Bute House, the official residence of the first minister of Scotland, during the independence referendum campaign.

The 64-year-old appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday to face allegations of offences against 10 women.

They include a charge of attempted rape, 11 of sexual assault - including one with intent to rape - and two of indecent assault.

Salmond denies all the charges, and speaking outside court, the former first minister said: "I am innocent and will defend myself vigorously."

The charges span a period between June 29, 2008, and November 11, 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place in the month of the historic referendum.

Alex Salmond denies the charges. Credit: PA

Salmond attempted to rape a woman at Bute House in Edinburgh in June 2014, the indictment alleges.

It is said he placed her legs over his, repeatedly kissed her face and neck, groped her, then blocked her path.

Salmond is then said to have pinned her against a wall, pulled at her clothes and stripped himself naked before trying to rape her on a bed.

The former MP is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman with intent to rape in December 2013.

He is alleged to have forced a woman to lie on his bed at the first minister's official residence then pulled up her dress with intent to rape her.

Both incidents were said to have taken place between the date of the Edinburgh Agreement in 2012 and the day of the independence vote in September 2014.

Salmond chairs a meeting in Bute House during his time as first minister. Credit: PA

Meanwhile, the first of the charges involved incidents where Salmond allegedly indecently assaulted a woman by kissing her mouth and groping her on various occasions around Glasgow between June 29, 2008, and July 24, 2008.

It is also alleged he sexually assaulted a woman on various occasions between May 2011 and June 2013 at the Scottish Parliament, Bute House and elsewhere by touching her bottom and stroking other parts of her body.

Salmond - who was Scotland's first minister from 2007 to 2014 - is also accused of taking off a woman's shoe and trying to kiss her foot in October 2013.

The indictment states that in September 2014, Salmond grabbed a woman by her shoulders at Bute House, repeatedly kissed her face, tried to kiss her lips and touched her leg and face.

Several charges involved the accused allegedly groping women, including one incident at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow in March 2012.

Gordon Jackson QC, representing Salmond, said his client denied the allegations.

Judge Lady Dorrian continued the preliminary hearing until January 22 and set a trial date for March 9, which is expected to last four weeks.

Here is the full list of offences the 64-year-old is facing:

  • Indecent assault of a woman on various occasions in June and July 2008 in Glasgow by kissing her on the mouth and touching her buttocks and breast with his hands over her clothing.
  • Sexual assault of the same woman on an occasion in December 2010 or December 2011 at Ego, a nightclub in Edinburgh, by touching her arms and hips with his hands over her clothing.
  • Indecent assault of a woman on an occasion between October and November 2010 at Bute House in Edinburgh by repeatedly seizing her by her wrists and repeatedly pulling her towards him and attempting to kiss her.
  • Sexual assault of a woman in a car travelling between Holyrood Road and Waverley Station in Edinburgh on an occasion in February 2011 by touching her leg with his hand over her clothing.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on various occasions between May 2011 and June 2013 at Bute House by touching her buttocks with his hands over her clothing, stroking her arms, and touching and stroking her hair.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion in October 2013 at Bute House by removing her foot from her shoe, stroking her foot, lifting her foot towards his mouth and attempting to kiss her foot.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion between November and December 2013 at Bute House by kissing her on the mouth.
  • Intent to rape of the same woman on an occasion in December 2013 at Bute House by causing her to sit on a bed, lie on top of her, make sexual remarks to her, touch her buttocks, thighs and breasts over her clothing with his hands, repeatedly kiss her face, struggle with her and pull up her dress.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion in March 2012 at Ubiquitous Chip, a restaurant in Ashton Lane, Glasgow, by touching her buttocks with his hand over her clothing.
  • Sexual assault of the same woman on an occasion in April 2014 at Bute House by placing his arm around her, making sexual remarks to her and attempting to kiss her.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion in May 2014 at Bute House by placing his arm around her body, placing his hand under her clothing and underwear and touching her breast, repeatedly kissing her on the face and neck and stroking her leg with his hand.
  • Attempted rape of the same woman on an occasion in June 2014 at Bute House by lifting her legs and placing them over his legs, repeatedly kissing her on the face and neck, placing his hand inside her upper clothing and touching her breast over her underwear, repeatedly blocking her path, pinning her against a wall, pulling at her clothing and underwear, removing his clothing and underwear, pushing her on to a bed, kneeling over her, pinning her to the bed by her shoulder, lying naked on top of her and then trying to rape her.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion in September 2014 at Bute House by seizing her by her shoulders, repeatedly kissing her on the face, attempting to kiss her on the lips, and touching her leg and face with his hand.
  • Sexual assault of a woman on an occasion in November 2014 at Stirling Castle by touching her buttock with his hand over her clothing.

Scotland's First Minister has insisted due process must be respected after her predecessor appeared in court.

Speaking outside the High Court in Edinburgh, the former SNP leader said: "I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously."

After the hearing, Nicola Sturgeon said her only interest was that "justice is done, whatever that might be".

The current SNP leader, who was campaigning in Glasgow in the run-up to December's General Election said: "This is a live, ongoing criminal trail so there is nothing it is appropriate for me to say, in fact there is nothing it is appropriate for anybody to say because it is absolutely essential that due process is allowed to take its course.

"My only interest as First Minister and as an ordinary citizen is that justice is done - whatever that might be.

"So I will say nothing that in any way might influence or prejudice that trial because it is vital that goes ahead and due process is respected."