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Masseuse 'feared reporting' blind Lord assault

image copyrightPA Media
image captionChristopher Holmes represented Great Britain at four Paralympic Games

A beauty therapist feared she could not report alleged sexual abuse by a blind Lord to police because she continued her massage, a court has heard.

Lord Holmes of Richmond, 48, is accused of groping the woman's bottom and asking if she did "extras" at a five-star hotel in London last March.

He denies one count of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court.

Christopher Holmes, one of the UK's most successful Paralympians, became a member of the House of Lords in 2013.

Prosecutor Linda Strudwick told jurors the peer groped the woman near the end of his 90-minute treatment on 7 March 2019.

The complainant did not leave immediately because she worried Lord Holmes would hurt either himself or his guide dog in the small treatment room, the court heard.

After realising he had gone too far Lord Holmes had shushed her and apologised repeatedly, the complainant said.

She then continued with the treatment.

image captionThe former swimmer ran Paralympic integration for the 2012 Games and took his seat at the House of Lords the following year

Messages sent to her manager immediately after the booking ended were read out in court.

The complainant said: "I should have left the room, but he shushed me and apologised so many times - I felt bad for the dog."

Her manager replied calling Holmes "entitled" because of his peerage.

In the messages, the manager said: "There's a million places they can go for that stuff, but I believe they go to a spa so they can push boundaries."

Lord Holmes told police he touched the woman on her face and shoulders before resting his hands on her around the level of her hips.

The complainant agreed to allow Lord Holmes to touch her face, believing it was what blind people did, the court heard.

Lord Holmes won nine gold medals and broke 35 world records during his swimming career.

He originally sat as a Conservative peer but is currently non-affiliated.

The trial continues.