A married Warrant Officer in the British Army shocked a superior female officer by trapping her next to her desk and suddenly kissing her, a court martial heard.
The woman said she was ‘horrified’ as WO1 Peter Simons wrapped his arms around her, gazed into her eyes and pressed his lips against hers in a kiss which lasted ‘a couple of seconds’.
The pair had not long been working together and he had asked for ‘hugs’ and told her she was ‘cute’ after she became increasingly stressed due to an increased workload.
After she pushed him away and fled, the court heard WO1 Simons later apologised, telling the female officer he thought she was ‘class’ and that he was having ‘problems’ in his marriage.
The woman complained of being assaulted by WO1 Simons but when he was quizzed by Royal Military Police officers he claimed the pair had ‘gazed into each others’ eyes’ before sharing a mutually consensual kiss.
He denies one charge of sexual assault.
Warrant Officer Peter Simons denies one charge of sexual assault at court martial today
Bulford Military Court, Wilts, heard WO1 Simons and his superior female officer had been posted together on a British military base for a matter of weeks before the incident.
She told the court: “I arrived in the office that morning at around 8am, and I believe WO Simons got in between nine and ten.
“I had a talk with my [own superior officer] that morning to let him know I was not coping with my workload.
“I went to get a cup of tea and WO1 Simons said, ‘Let me give you a hug’ because he had also spoken with [my superior officer].
“I shrugged it off and accepted it - I assumed it was to try to make me feel better. I got my cup of tea and came back to the room.
“About 40 minutes later I got up to go to the shops for some lunch. I knew I needed to work through lunch that day.
The court martial heard he apologised and later told the senior officer she was 'class'
“I asked WO1 Simons if he would like anything from the shops. He said he didn’t want anything and as I moved around the edge of my desk he then stood up.
“He came from his desk and moved to the gap between the two desks. He came to intercept me; I couldn’t get past him.
“I took a step forward and he moved forward towards me with his arms outstretched, reaching out to me.
“I felt my personal space was being encroached upon. He embraced me and offered to give me another hug. I found it weird, as we had already hugged.
“As his arms came round behind me I was aware that he was making eye contact and perhaps it felt different to the previous time he hugged me. His head was lowered to make eye contact with me.
“I looked up at that point and he kissed me and it lasted for a couple of seconds.
“I felt horrified and pushed him away with my hands to his chest. I said, ‘Don’t ever kiss me again’. I just wanted to get out of the office as quick as possible.”
The female officer sent a message to a friend ‘as soon as I was out in the corridor’ and later reported the incident - having not done so earlier as she was ‘in shock’ and was concerned about getting him into trouble.
She added: “He was at the end of his career... but it was only after I had removed myself that I thought, ‘I have got the right to be upset by this’.”
The court martial heard WO1 Simons, of 3rd Regiment Royal Military Police, apologised to his alleged victim when she returned to the office later that day - complaining of problems in his marriage but saying she was ‘class’.
Prosecuting, William Peters said: “He nuzzled his face into [the victim’s], lunged forward and kissed her on the lips.
“She was stunned but managed to push him away and told him not to kiss her ever again. She was left shocked and later that day he said words to the effect of, ‘Sorry for being a d***head’.
“That night she decided to make a formal complaint.
“[WO1 Simons] denied the allegation and said they were gazing into each others’ eyes and came together in an awkward way.
“He says they both apologised to each other at the time.”
The trial continues.