A Royal Navy sailor has been dismissed for sexually assaulting three colleagues after she got drunk during a cold weather survival expedition in Norway.
Able Seaman Jodie McSkimmings, 31, straddled one sailor and pinned him to a bed before sexually assaulting him and groping two others during a drunken “spree”, a court martial was told.
McSkimmings, from Fife, committed five offences in five hours after drinking at least six cans of beer and a bottle of wine, demanding kisses from colleagues, refusing to take no for an answer and trying to undress them.
She tried to sit on a sergeant’s lap before hitting him and punched a corporal in the face.
McSkimmings was based at HMS Neptune, the shore establishment on the Clyde, when she was deployed to Norway last year with the 45 Commando Royal Marine regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Culver, for the prosecution, said that during the deployment her first victim saw her swigging from a bottle of wine before inviting him into one of the bedrooms.
“After about five minutes of normal talking [McSkimmings] then began to repeatedly and explicitly seek not just a kiss but also sexual relations with him,” Culver told Bulford military court in Wiltshire. “He said to her repeatedly that he refused and said she was drunk. She nonetheless proceeded to straddle him, using her body weight to pin him on the bed. She kissed his mouth and put her hand inside his T-shirt to try to unbutton his trousers. She placed his hand on her buttock. He objected several times and then she did stop but proceeded to hurl abuse at him.”
The court was told that McSkimmings, a former pupil at Inverkeithing High School, later invited another male colleague into the same room. Culver said: “He declined but she was insistent and he complied with her request in order to keep her calm. Again she asked initially for a kiss; he said no and that he had a girlfriend. She repeated and was persistent in demanding kisses. She said, ‘It’s only me and you here and nobody needs to find out.’ He said, ‘That’s not the point, I don’t want to.’ He said he was going to leave and she placed her left hand on his crotch. He said, ‘What are you doing?’ and asked her to get off him and she left the room muttering after that, leaving him shocked.”
At about 7.30pm that night McSkimmings, who once won an award for her achievements in training, was taking part in a quiz in the mess hall. She tried to sit on the lap of Sergeant Scott Mitchell but he told her he “wasn’t impressed”, the court was told. Culver said: “Sergeant Mitchell describes a punch at 100 per cent force to his lower back. He asked her, ‘What was that?’ and she said, ‘I will f***ing do you in, you are taking the piss out of me.’ ”
The officer told her to calm down but she turned her attention to Corporal Stewart Duggans. The court was told: “She stared at him for two seconds and punched him in the face with a hand in which she was holding a beer can. She punched him with enough force to completely crush the beer can, dispensing beer over his face and clothes.”
At about 9pm McSkimmings entered the room of another male colleague. The court was told that she sat on his bed and tried to “hump him”.
Culver added: “She started trying to unzip his trousers and he objected, saying he had a girlfriend. He pushed her hand away and she attempted to grab his zip a further two more times. He felt shocked, confused and uncomfortable.” She swore at him as she left the room.
McSkimmings admitted three charges of sexual assault, one of battery and one of violence against a superior officer.
James Cassels, in mitigation, said that McSkimmings had been in a head-on car crash in December 2019 and was therefore “vulnerable” when she joined the 45 Commandos in Norway.
He outlined a history of mental health issues, including depression, and said that she was struggling with it at the time of the incidents due to “misogynistic bullying” from colleagues.
“This is a fairly depressing case for me to deal with and I have dealt with many,” Cassels said. “She was the only female out and about with them . . . People were sexually abusive and misogynistic and this undermined her confidence to such an extent that she felt totally isolated.”
He said that McSkimmings had been on a museum trip that morning and drank about six beers before heading back to camp, where she had a bottle of wine and the incidents began. She was said to have no recollection of them.
Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor told her: “We accept that challenging behaviour by your male colleagues took place that significantly impaired your mental health. You say you drank to block out the misery you found yourself in but you did so voluntarily.”
McSkimmings was dismissed from the navy. She must do 120 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days.
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