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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 18:58 GMT
Rape trial for navy petty officer
HMS Nelson
HMS Nelson is the Navy's main base in Portsmouth
A Royal Navy petty officer raped a female colleague after a barbeque on board a warship, a court martial heard.

Chief Petty officer Phillip Coates, from Devon, pleaded not guilty to a rape charge at the start of the trial at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth, on Monday.

The court martial heard how the female sailor had been drinking with Mr Coates prior to the alleged rape.

The alleged assault is said to have taken place while the Royal Navy ship was in the Mediterranean last March.

This is believed to be the first time a navy petty officer has faced a trial accused of raping a female colleague.

'Clear recollection'

Peter Glenser, prosecuting, told the hearing that the alleged victim had drunk a bottle of wine and two glasses of punch during a barbeque before going below deck with Mr Coates.

Mr Glenser said: "It caused her to feel merry and not too drunk, and she was in a bouncy, happy, outgoing mood.

"She has a pretty clear recollection of events."

Mr Glenser said the pair had gone below deck with other colleagues as the temperature dropped.

He said the victim had said that she had kissed Mr Coates but had not wanted to go any further.

She later told other officers she was alone in a room below deck when Coates entered and attempted to remove her clothes.

'Visibly distressed'

The alleged victim told the court Mr Coates had brought a bottle a wine up the sleeve of his jacket which he gave to the victim.

She said: "He gave it to me and I said thank you for it and I possibly gave him a kiss on the cheek to say thank you."

The woman said she had been in a small room on the ship when the alleged rape occurred.

She told the hearing: "As far as I can remember - it's a bit hazy now - he put his hands around my waist and he tried to kiss me.

"I started trying to push him away. I do not think I said anything but tried to push him away but he's quite a bit bigger than me and I couldn't get away."

Mr Glenser told the court the alleged victim was found shortly after in a "visibly distressed state" and "sobbing her heart out".

Medical examinations after the initial report found she had minor bruising and some injuries, and had a blood alcohol level more than twice the drink drive limit.

The woman said she did not remember what happened until she attended a therapy session with a psychologist two months later.

Mr Coates denies rape and insisted sexual intercourse had been consensual.

The trial continues.

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