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Therapist is accused of exaggerating allegations blind Tory peer sexually assaulted her

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
Lord Holmes denies any wrongdoing. (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
Lord Holmes denies any wrongdoing. (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

A beauty therapist has been accused of “rewriting history” in her allegation that a blind former Tory peer sexually assaulted her.

Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond, a nine-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist, is accused of sexually assaulting the woman on 7 March last year.

The 48-year-old peer, formerly with the Conservatives, allegedly groped the woman’s bottom and asked if she did “extras” as he pointed at his crotch. Holmes denies any wrongdoing.

His defence was given her victim impact statement, notes from the woman’s counselling sessions and text arguments with her boyfriend.

Sarah Forshaw QC, defending Holmes, suggested on Wednesday that the alleged victim would “exaggerate” and “overthink things”.

“You get things in your head that aren’t true,” Forshaw asserted.

The woman denied her evidence was exaggerated or overthought.

Lord Holmes is accused of sexual assault. (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
Lord Holmes is accused of sexual assault. (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Forshaw read the therapist’s statement that the alleged incident turned her life “upside down”.

“That’s not true, because a client, on your account, touched your bottom over clothing on one occasion?” Forshaw said.

“You are rewriting history to fit your account of what happened, I’m going to suggest that.”

The woman also stated that her relationship with her boyfriend had been affected.

Holmes’s defence read a series of arguments the couple had on WhatsApp that took place before the alleged assault.

She had also complained to her boyfriend that two of her ex-partners had stalked her after one liked a social media post and she bumped into the other one in Tesco, the court heard.

The woman said the disagreements were normal, and “stalking” was a phrase used when someone goes through another’s social media account.

The court was told she complained that her wrists had been broken after police handcuffed her when she faced a charge of assaulting an officer after a boozy brunch in Brixton in December 2019.

An exterior view of Southwark Crown Court in London.
The case is taking place at Southwark Crown Court. (PA)

The defence claims she was instead treated for soft-tissue damage.

Holmes’s trial at Southwark Crown Court has previously heard how the therapist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, feared she could not tell the police about the alleged incident because she finished the deep tissue massage.

She said on Tuesday that she was worried Holmes would hurt himself or his guide dog if she left the small room at a five star London hotel.

The woman said she had allowed Holmes to touch her face, believing blind people did that.

She told her manager half an hour after the alleged assault that she “should have left the room, but he shushed me and apologised so many times”, and told her boyfriend it was “my fault as I stayed in the room”.

Her boyfriend said she should complain to the House of Lords or the police, adding that authorities “take this seriously now after #MeToo”.

Jurors have been told that Holmes’s defence suggests the woman has made a malicious claim to gain financially.

He has been blind since he was 14, and has also had a successful career as a solicitor.

The trial continues.