Blind Paralympian swimmer Lord Holmes, 48, ‘grabbed a masseuse’s bottom then pointed to his crotch and asked if she ‘did extras’ in spa of five star hotel’, sex assault trial hears
- Lord Christopher Holmes, 48, visited a five star hotel’s spa on March 7 last year
- Holmes, who is visually impaired, is UK’s most successful Paralympic swimmer
- Holmes denies one charge of sexual assault at London’s Southwark Crown Court
A Tory peer and British Paralympic champion grabbed a masseuse’s bottom at a five star hotel’s spa, a court heard on Tuesday.
Lord Christopher Holmes of Richmond MBE, 48 – who is blind – allegedly pointed to his crotch and asked if the woman did ‘extras’ at a five star hotel’s spa on March 7 last year.
Holmes, joined in the dock by his assistance dog, black Labrador, Nancy, denied one charge of sexual assault at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
He was pictured outside the court today walking arm-in-arm with a woman – believed to be a helper – who has attended all hearings with him so far.
Holmes, who is a life peer in the House of Lords, is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, with a total of nine golds, five silvers and one bronze.
Following his retirement from professional swimming he was elevated to the House of Lords in 2015.
Tory peer and British Paralympic champion Lord Christopher Holmes (right) grabbed a masseuse’s bottom at a five star hotel’s spa, a court heard on Tuesday. Left: Lord Holmes with his guide dog outside Southwark Crown Court
Holmes (centre with his meddles), who is a life peer in the House of Lords, is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, with a total of nine golds, five silvers and one bronze
Who is British Paralympic champion Lord Christopher Holmes?
Lord Holmes was a champion swimmer, winning six gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Games and three at the Atlanta Paralympics.
He also broke 35 world records before moving into top roles in sports management and politics.
He was director of Paralympic integration for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games before taking his seat in the House of Lords in 2013.
His website says he campaigns for more accessible environments for disabled people and has been asked to head a Government review that will make recommendations on how to encourage more disabled people to apply for public appointments.
Lord Holmes has also sat on a number of House of Lords select committees and has introduced a private members bill to tackle unpaid internships.
Prosecutor Linda Strudwick told jurors Holmes had booked a one and a half hour spa massage at the central London hotel.
She said: ‘Towards the end of the massage, Lord Holmes grabbed [the complainant’s] arm. He sat up on the table where the massage was taking place.
‘He asked how old she was. Then he asked her “can I see how you look?”
‘[She] was unsure about what he meant but assumed that it meant could he touch her face.
‘She allowed him to do this, but then feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable at that point she began to move away.
‘Mr Holmes stopped her by grabbing her buttocks.
‘He said nice and he asked if he could touch her boobs. She said ‘no’.
‘He asked if she ‘did extras’ and pointed towards his crotch, she said ‘No, I am a professional’.
‘He said: “Are you sure you’ve never done it?”
‘Mr Holmes obviously realised that he had gone too far, he made shushing noises to her and apologised,’ said Ms Strudwick.
Holmes then ‘calmed down’ the shocked woman, who finished the massage and wordlessly handed him over a robe, the court heard.
The distressed woman went straight to her manager and also told her work agency and boyfriend, jurors heard.
Holmes, of Richmond, Surrey, denies one count of sexual assault.
The trial continues.
Holmes, joined in the dock by his assistance dog, black Labrador, Nancy, denied one charge of sexual assault at London’s Southwark Crown Court (file image pictured)