Soldier cleared of sex assault

A SUFFOLK soldier accused of sexually assaulting a drunken woman in a paddling pool has been cleared on the orders of a judge.It was alleged that a naked Lance Corporal Paul Whatmough, 32, took advantage of the woman at a late-night splash-about at Wattisham Airfield after an evening's revelry.

A SUFFOLK soldier accused of sexually assaulting a drunken woman in a paddling pool has been cleared on the orders of a judge.

It was alleged that a naked Lance Corporal Paul Whatmough, 32, took advantage of the woman at a late-night splash-about at Wattisham Airfield after an evening's revelry.

As he was intimately touching the woman, he allegedly motioned to a colleague to be quiet so as not to rouse her, a court martial at Bulford in Wiltshire heard.

Despite not being able to recall whether she had resisted or not, the woman claimed her encounter with L/Cpl Whatmough on June 19 last year was non-consensual.

The defendant, of 7 Air Assault Battalion REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) disagreed, insisting the woman had initiated it.

After two days of prosecution evidence, "no case to answer" submissions were made by L/Cpl Whatmough's defence team.

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The judge, Vice Judge-Advocate General Michael Hunter, agreed, ruling there was insufficient evidence for a conviction and instructed a panel of five Army officers trying the case to find L/Cpl Whatmough not guilty of assault by digital penetration.

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