Soldier denies sexually assaulting Ipswich woman as she walked home from night out

Police tape in Rope Walk, Ipswich

Police tape in Rope Walk, Ipswich - Credit: Lucy taylor

A Suffolk soldier with a “glowing” military record has denied sexually assaulting a student after rugby tackling her to the ground as she walked home from a night out in Ipswich.

Giving evidence during his trial at Ipswich Crown Court, specialist army diver Adam Bonner, who is based at Rock Barracks near Woodbridge, told a jury he had never been violent to a woman and was not the kind of person to attack and sexually assault a woman.

He claimed he had been “really drunk” but not paralytic after attending an army colleague’s leaving do and didn’t have a clear memory of what happened that night.

“I have blurred memories of what happened and just remember little bits,” said Bonner, who is a sergeant in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

He said he had become separated from his friends and assumed he was lost when he ended up in Rope Walk, where the alleged attack took place, in the early hours of October 10, 2014.

Bonner, a married father-of-two who has done tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, said he could remember sharing a mutual kiss with the alleged victim but denied he had a “selective memory” of what happened.

He denied a suggestion from prosecution counsel Richard Kelly that he had only been “mildly” drunk and was exaggerating how drunk he was as a “ convenient way of saying he didn’t remember certain things.”

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Bonner also denied “chopping and changing” his story to fit in with what he thought was his best chance of being believed.

When Mr Kelly accused him of grabbing the 21-year-old student, forcing her to the ground, putting his jacket over her to silence her protests and putting his hand down the back of her trousers Bonner replied: “I don’t remember. I don’t think it happened. I would never do what you are saying. I’m not that person.”

Bonner, of Ipswich Close, Sutton Heath, has denied sexually assaulting the woman.

The court has heard that the student, who is less than 5ft tall, shouted and swore at Bonner and begged him not to rape her or hurt her during the alleged incident.

The alleged attack came to an end when police officers, who had been called by local residents who heard the woman’s screams, arrested Bonner after finding him lying on top of her.

Hugh Vass, for Bonner, who has been in the army since he was 17, read a number of character references to the court in which the allegations were described as out of character.

In the references from army officers and friends Bonner was described as having a “ glowing military record” and as being a widely respected soldier and a devoted family man.

The court heard that at the time of the alleged attack Bonner’s wife had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

The trial continues on Monday when the jury is expected to hear closing speeches by barristers in the case.

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