Royal Navy Commander Steven Heap faces a court martial over claims he twice slapped a female officer’s bottom
A Royal Navy Commander who was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles drunkenly slapped a fellow officer’s bottom so hard he left her buttock ‘sore’, a court martial heard today.
Highly-respected Cdr Steven Heap had been drinking for several hours when he followed the woman onto the dance floor at a Navy base party and slapped her as she danced.
When the shocked woman fled and later returned to the dance floor, his right hand struck her backside a second time, a court martial heard.
The hearing was told the 48-year-old accepts he slapped the senior officer’s bottom, but claimed he was simply ‘joking about’.
Heap, who was based at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth, Hampshire, at the time, joined the Navy 30 years ago as a submariner and now works as a nuclear force inspector.
The Commander received an MBE from the Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2013.
The court martial today heard that Heap had been at a Navy base Christmas party when he drunkenly slapped his victim’s bottom.
The Commander received an MBE from the Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2013
Prosecutor Wing Commander Michael Saunders told the court Heap initially approached the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at the bar earlier in the evening.
She is said to have told him she wanted nothing to do with him, but he followed her to the dance floor and twice sexually assaulted her, the court heard.
Giving evidence today at the trial, the woman told the court a drunken Heap had left her backside ‘sore’ from the ‘firm’ slaps at the party.
She said: ‘I was having a private conversation with a friend at the bar when he came over and was disturbing that conversation. That was the first time I had met him.
‘He was clearly very drunk, staff had said they were not going to serve him anymore, I found out, and based on my interaction with him at the bar, I wanted nothing more to do with him.
‘I was in civilian clothing at the time and I was enjoying myself with friends. But I became aware of somebody on my right hand side.
‘The defendant pointed to something and I went to turn to see what it was and felt a slap to my right butt cheek. It was a firm slap with his right hand.
‘I was very taken aback by what happened. I did not confront him, I just removed myself from the situation.
Like many Naval officers, Commander Heap is based on Whale Island in Portsmouth Harbour
She added: ‘I was trying to enjoy myself still and put what had happened behind me. I thought maybe it was just a mistake.
‘I didn’t want it to ruin my evening, so again I went back on to the dancefloor – the band were very good.
‘But again, I was aware of him in close proximity to me and there was a second slap to the buttock.
‘It was much the same as the first one, with his right hand to my right buttock, which was already sore from the first slap.
‘Again I thought it was weird and inappropriate, but he was really drunk and I wanted to get the hell out of there.
‘It was disturbing my evening and I just thought there was not point in trying to rationalise with this person.’
Heap, of Poole, Dorset, denies two counts of sexual assault. The trial at Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, continues.
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