A British Army soldier joked about ‘assaulting’ two female colleagues hours before he sexually assaulted them both, a court heard today.
Private Joshua Rideout allegedly groped his fellow soldiers while watching a movie with them and even ripped jeans a woman was wearing.
A court heard one of the women was on the phone with a male soldier when Pt Rideout ‘stepped in’ and said, ‘Do you want to help me assault these two girls?’
Later that evening, he is accused of sexually assaulting the same woman and her friend, while the three of them were watching an Ice Age movie in her bedroom.
Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire heard evidence from the female soldier, who said she and the other woman were ‘best friends’.
Private Joshua Rideout allegedly groped his fellow soldiers while watching a movie with them and even ripped one of the two’s jeans.
Speaking about the ‘molest’ comment, she told the audience: ‘I just thought it was a joke. I didn’t take it personally or seriously at the time.
“After that, I went back to my room and relaxed.”
But the woman said she was later joined by her friend and Pt Rideout. She then went outside to smoke a cigarette and make a phone call before returning to find the male soldier above her friend.
She said, “I came back into the room. I saw Pt Rideout with his phone in his hand. He was on top of her, he had his legs on each side of her and with his legs he immobilized her arms.
“She said ‘help me’… she was trying to get him out.
“I just thought it was a fighting game. I walked out of the room, didn’t think about it and walked out to continue my phone call.
But when she came back and continued watching the movie, the other woman texted her saying that Pt Rideout had tried to sexually assault her and ignored her pleas for him to get away from her. .
Despite this revelation, all three went to bed together and continued to watch the film, as the female soldier said in court, “I have a hard time telling people to get out of my room.”
Pt Rideout allegedly “intervened” in one of the women’s phone calls, saying, “Do you want to help me assault these two girls?”
Later, when the other woman had left the room, Pte Rideout turned his attention to this female soldier.
She said: “I already had huge holes in my jeans because that was their design. He said “I want to rip your jeans” or something and I said “don’t”.
“We were sitting on the bed and he literally grabbed my jeans and started ripping them off.
I told him to stop but he continued. He ended up tearing them from top to bottom.
‘[The other female soldier] came back when he got to the bottom and she was trying to stop him from doing it.
“It made me feel uncomfortable, I wasn’t sure what to do…when I got up to change, he grabbed the leg of my jeans and you could see the bottom of my ass.”
Despite this incident, she changed, went back to bed with her friend and Pt Rideout and continued watching the movie.
As he lay next to her, she said he put his hand on her hip and then started touching her.
She said she told her friend by quietly typing it on her phone and showing it to her, so her friend put her arm around her to keep her from touching her hip.
But the woman said Pt Rideout then started “pushing” her. She repeated it to her friend and they left to have a cigarette.
The case is being heard at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire, where one of the women gave evidence
They discussed what had happened and called a friend to get Pt Rideout out of the room and then went to report the incident to the military police.
Jessica Clarke, defending, claimed there were discrepancies between what the female soldier told police and what she said in court.
Ms Clarke told the hearing: ‘The reason you have trouble remembering the details is that in fact what you told the police is not true.
“I suggest there was sexual contact in bed but you initiated it…I suggest it escalated into a sexual assault allegation when you were talking outside.
“I suggest what happened in that room was not sexual assault, it was consensual activity, but when you told the story outside you said it was sexual attention unwanted from Pt Rideout.
“Once you told that story once, you had to tell it again and again and again.”
Pt Rideout, of 27 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, denies four charges of sexual assault by touching.
The trial continues.