Prosecutor claims Alex Salmond was a 'sexual predator'

Alex and Moira SalmondImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mr Salmond arrived at the court with his wife Moira on Thursday morning

A prosecutor has alleged that Alex Salmond was a "predator" who "abused his power to satisfy his sexual desire with impunity".

In his closing speech to the trial, Alex Prentice QC claimed Mr Salmond had shown a pattern of "brazen" conduct and said: "He did it because he could."

He urged the jury to convict the former first minister of all 13 sexual assault charges that he faces.

Mr Salmond says he is innocent of all of the charges against him.

He has pled not guilty to sexually assaulting a total of nine women while he was serving as Scotland's first minister and the leader of the SNP.

And he has described the allegations as being "deliberate fabrications for a political purpose" or "exaggerations".

Mr Salmond's defence lawyer will make is own closing speech to the trial on Friday, after which the jury will be sent out to reach a verdict.

Mr Prentice told nine women and six men on the jury that the case was "not about a plot and political conspiracy".

He said: "It is about a powerful man who abused his power to satisfy his sexual desires with impunity.

"It is hard to complain when you rely upon your abuser for opportunities and career development, and when you are fully aware of an abuser's reach and control."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mr Prentice invited the jury to convict Mr Salmond of all 13 sexual assault charges

He alleged that Mr Salmond's conduct had been "intimidating, humiliating, degrading and created an offensive environment".

And he described the complainers in the case as being "courageous, brave women who spoke up to call out the abusive conduct of the former first minister."

Several witnesses during the trial had described Mr Salmond as being a "tactile person" - but Mr Prentice argued that this was "not a licence to grope women".

Outlining the various allegations against the former first minister, Mr Prentice said some involved young women being left alone at night with Mr Salmond in his Bute House residence.

He put it to the jury: "There is an emerging pattern here. Brazen conduct. He did it because he could.

"There is a common theme here - that of a sexual predator with escalating gravity."

Mr Prentice went on to argue that some of the complainers "felt they could not speak out and expose what had been taking place".

He added: "Some were concerned with potential damage to the campaign for an independent Scotland, but there were also concerns over anonymity and the procedure the government would embark on.

"They felt they had no-one to turn to for an effective remedy. Well they do now. I invite you, ladies and gentlemen, to convict Alexander Salmond of the charges against him."

Mr Salmond says he is innocent of all the allegations against him.

He has entered not guilty pleas to all 13 of the charges which he still faces, which include one charge of attempted rape, one of sexual assault with intent to rape, nine sexual assaults and two indecent assaults.

He has already been acquitted of a further sexual assault charge against a 10th woman after the Crown dropped the allegation during the trial.

What has the trial heard so far?