Alex Salmond 'lay on top of woman and tried to rape her'

Alex Salmond stripped himself naked, lay on top of a woman and tried to rape her while he was Scotland’s First Minister, a court has heard.

Mr Salmond appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh accused of a string of sexual assaults on 10 women between June 2008 and November 2014 - included the alleged attempted rape.

The 64-year-old faces a total of 14 charges - all of which he denies.

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As well as the count of attempted rape, Salmond is accused of one count of intent to rape, 10 charges of sexual assault and two counts of indecent assault.

Mr Salmond appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh (Picture: REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)
Mr Salmond appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh (Picture: REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)

The charge of attempted rape alleges that in June 2014, at the first minister’s official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond put a woman’s legs over his, repeatedly kissed and groped her.

He is then said to have pinned her against a wall and pulled at her clothes, stripping naked before lying on top of her and trying to rape her.

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Mr Salmond was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014.

He is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman with intent to rape at Bute House in December 2013.

The indictment alleges he committed 14 offences in total, including at the Scottish Parliament and in a restaurant in Glasgow.

The 64-year-old strenuously denied the allegations when he previously appeared in court in January.

During his appearance on Thursday (November 21), a preliminary hearing was set for January 22, 2020, with a date for a trial - estimated to run for around four weeks - set for March 9.

Speaking outside court after the hearing, with a trial date set for March 9, the former first minister confirmed not guilty pleas had been submitted.

He said: “I’m not permitted to say too much today save that we’ve launched our defence statement with the court.

“It pleads not guilty to all charges and explains some of the circumstances in which they’ve come about.

“I’m also conscious we’re in the middle of a General Election campaign. I’m not going to say anything which would influence that democratic process.

“We’re now into a second year of court actions, first civil and now criminal – it’s over 10 months since we won the civil action.

“I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously but the only place, the only proper place to answer criminal charges, is in this court – and that’s exactly what we intend to do next spring.”

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