Royal Navy ship’s captain, 28, ‘pounced on vulnerable teenage cadet and raped her’


A Royal Navy ship’s captain is accused of pouncing on a vulnerable teenage cadet and raping her when she was so drunk she had vomited on a pub table.

A court martial has heard about the ‘age and rank disparity,’ between Lieutenant Rhys Christie, a 28-year-old commanding officer of HMS Archer, and an 18-year-old officer cadet he is accused of raping during nights out in Scotland and in Kent.  

The teenager – who was bought drinks by Lt Christie – was so drunk she vomited on a pub table and told how she had ‘no memory’ of events until she woke up ‘confused’ and naked in Lt Christie’s bed.

The officer then told her ‘you were asking for it’.

The court martial was told Lt Christie’s colleagues tried to get the drunk teenager back to the ship ‘for her own safety’ but the officer insisted on taking her back to his room.

Lieutenant Rhys Christie was described as a ‘predator,’ at a court martial hearing where he stands accused of five counts of rape 

Moments after the cadet woke up following the first incident, Christie allegedly pinned her down on his bed by putting his knees on her shoulders and raped her.

Lt Christie, commanding officer of Edinburgh-based Royal Navy ship HMS Archer, ‘abused his position of authority’, prosecutor William Peters today said.

Mr Peters said the girl was raped after nights out in a town in Scotland and in Kent.

The second incident was just three days before her 19th birthday.

Lt Christie denies five counts of rape over the course of the two incidents. The court heard there was consensual sex between the two alleged attacks, but that did not give ‘blanket’ consent.

Prosecutors say Christie's victim was too drunk to properly consent to have sex with him

Prosecutors say Christie’s victim was too drunk to properly consent to have sex with him 

Today at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, Mr Peters said the pair had been part of a group watching Six Nations rugby at a pub in Eyemouth, on Scotland’s East coast.

He said: ‘She got very drunk. Due to her drunkenness, she was sick all over the floor and table.

‘While she was sitting there she was drifting off to sleep. Too drunk, the prosecution say, to have the capacity to choose to have sex with Christie in his hotel room that night.

Christie, pictured on board the HMS Archer, insisted on taking his drunk, teenage victim, back to a hotel room, despite protests from colleagues during a Navy night out at a pub, a trial heard today

Christie, pictured on board the HMS Archer, insisted on taking his drunk, teenage victim, back to a hotel room, despite protests from colleagues during a Navy night out at a pub, a trial heard today

‘She has no memory of being drunk in the pub and has a hazy recollection of walking up the stairs at the hotel and then nothing until the morning.

‘She has no memory of [the sex], we know it happened because Christie said that it did.

‘She was too drunk to choose to have sex with the defendant and that would have been obvious to him.

‘In the morning she woke up in the bed to a naked Christie who appeared in the bathroom and he climbed on top of her.

‘She was still affected by the alcohol and didn’t consent, which would have been obvious.’

He added: ‘[A colleague] wanted to escort her back to the ship for her own safety… Christie intervened and said he would take her back to his hotel for her safety.

Christie now serves on the nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance. Prosecutors have pointed out the 'age and rank disparity,' between the lieutenant and the 18-year-old woman he is accused of raping

Christie now serves on the nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance. Prosecutors have pointed out the ‘age and rank disparity,’ between the lieutenant and the 18-year-old woman he is accused of raping  

‘It illustrates how much in need of a safe haven she was when Christie pounced on her vulnerability and took her back to his room to exploit that very weakness.

‘He was a predator.’

Mr Peters said there was an ‘age and rank disparity’ and explained how around three weeks later – when the victim was ‘extremely drunk’ and ‘staggering’ – Lt Christie raped her in Ramsgate.

Lt Christie got into an ‘ugly’ dispute with a colleague who was taking the cadet back to the ship. He told the colleague to ‘f*** off’ and took her back to his room.

Mr Peters said: ‘On two occasions the defendant abused his position of authority and exploited her vulnerability.’

The victim, who can’t be named for legal reasons, said she had ‘four or five’ pints before the first incident and shots which were bought by Lt Christie.

Speaking from behind a screen in court, she said: ‘I don’t remember being drunk in the pub as such, I can remember drinking but after the shots I don’t remember anything.’

The officer cadet recalled how she drifted in and out of sleep but was alarmed to discover she was naked so covered herself with bed sheets.

She said: ‘I was confused, drunk and not aware of where I was.

‘He came out of the bathroom, he walked over to me, crawled up on the bottom of the bed, climbed on top of me and continued up.

The 28-year-old was a commanding officer on the HMS Archer. Christie denies five counts of rape which are alleged to have happened in Eyemouth, Scotland and in Ramsgate, Kent

The 28-year-old was a commanding officer on the HMS Archer. Christie denies five counts of rape which are alleged to have happened in Eyemouth, Scotland and in Ramsgate, Kent

‘It got to the point where he was positioned right in front of my head and his knees were beside my shoulders, I couldn’t move myself up. 

‘I was almost in shock. Because of the drink I was not fully aware of what was going on.’

She added: ‘[When I woke up again] he said I was all over him and that I had been asking for it. I was just confused.’

The woman told how she woke up confused in Christie’s hotel bed for a second time just weeks later, having been ‘extremely drunk’ the night before.

She told the hearing how she tried to leave the bed after realising Christie was behind her. She said she was ‘pinned down,’ and unable to move during the attack. 

Lt Christie – who now serves on nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance – denies the victim’s allegations that the sex was not consensual.

It was heard the pair had consensual sex in between the two offences but Mr Peters said the woman’s consent then is not a ‘blanket’ consent.

The trial continues. 

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