London

Rower Alastair Main denies slapping woman's backside

London Rowing Club Image copyright Google
Image caption The incident is alleged to have happened at the rowing club after the Christmas party in 2015

A former England rower has admitted pouring beer over a woman following an argument but denies pulling her skirt up and repeatedly slapping her bottom.

Alastair Main, 35, a City lawyer and ex-London Rowing Club captain, is accused of assaulting the woman at a Christmas dinner on 16 December 2015.

He said he was "acting like a fool" but denies racially aggravated common assault and sexual assault.

The woman said he had called her an offensive name before the assault.

Speaking behind a screen at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court, the woman, in her 20s, said she had turned down Mr Main's request for a hug before the incident.

But Mr Main, who was captain of the rowing club between 2013 and 2014, denied this claiming the pair had had a conversation during which they both became "upset".

He alleged the woman "slapped" him in the face after the exchange.

"I followed her" before "pouring what remained of my beer on top of her", Mr Main told the court.

'Not racist'

Mr Main, from Kingston upon Thames, accepted he was drunk on the night of the incident.

Mr Main claimed he later tried to apologise but the woman was "dismissive" of his attempts to "make amends".

He denied lifting her skirt and slapping her bottom several times, as well as the woman's claims he began slapping her head, pushing her around and asking if she was "wearing any knickers".

Mr Main said he did put his hands on the woman's waist.

He broke down in tears in the dock as character references were read to the court, suggesting he was "not racist" and "always respectful to women".

Eloise Marshall, acting for Mr Main, suggested the woman may have "exaggerated" the incident.

The victim strongly denied the allegation when giving evidence in October.

The case continues.

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