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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 12:04 GMT
Royal Navy sailor jailed for rape
Chief Petty Officer Phillip Coates
Coates hid as he entered the court martial on Wednesday
A navy chief petty officer found guilty of raping a female colleague on a warship has been jailed for five years.

Chief Petty Officer Phillip Coates, 30, from Devon, was found guilty of raping the 24-year-old rating while at sea in the Mediterranean last year.

Coates told a court martial at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth, he had had consensual sex with his colleague.

It is believed to be the first time a Royal Navy CPO has been prosecuted for raping a female sailor.

Coates, a married medical assistant, was also dismissed from the service, demoted and deprived of good conduct badges by the court martial panel.

Admitted kiss

The trial heard that Coates, who was of previous good character, had drunk a glass of red wine and six cans of lager before following his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, below decks.

The court was told that she had drunk a bottle of rose wine, a vodka and lemonade and two glasses of punch during the barbecue to mark the end of Flag Officer Sea Training exercises.

Coates, who had only been married for eight months at the time, claimed that they had kissed prior to the attack.

The victim admitted kissing the defendant prior to the attack in the Mediterranean between 8 and 9 March last year, but had not consented to sex and had found the whole ordeal "repulsive".

'Found sobbing'

Coates had pulled her trousers and underwear down before raping her on a small bunk while she struggled to escape, the court was told.

His victim was found soon after the attack "sobbing her heart out" and in a distressed state.

It was two months later, after she underwent a psychotherapy technique called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, that she was able to remember details of the incident.

Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett told Coates, who showed no emotion, that he would also have to sign the Sex Offenders' Register when released on licence from prison.

Judge Blackett said Coates' actions towards a junior colleague were a "gross abuse of position".

"You had complete disregard for her objections, your story is a complete fabrication and your lack of care for her afterwards was callous," he said.

"Not only did you cause gross distress to your victim, you also brought discredit on yourself, your branch and the Royal Navy. Your behaviour was disgraceful."

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09 Mar 07 |  Hampshire
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08 Mar 07 |  Hampshire
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07 Mar 07 |  Hampshire
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05 Mar 07 |  Hampshire

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