Soldier, 29, ‘fondled female comrade’s breasts while she slept’


Soldier, 29, ‘fondled female comrade’s breasts while she slept then claimed he had been reaching for TV remote control’

  • Ratu Salabogi, 29, is accused of sexually assaulting a sleeping female comrade 
  • He allegedly groped the unnamed soldier’s breasts after she had fallen asleep 
  • Other soldiers woke woman after spotting Salabogi allegedly groping her










A British Army soldier fondled a female colleague’s breasts while she slept and then claimed he had been reaching for a TV remote control, a court martial heard.

Trooper Ratu Salabogi, 29, is accused of sexually assaulting the woman after she fell asleep on a sofa while watching a film in a common room on Bovington Camp in Dorset.

Others spotted the Fijian allegedly groping her in the early hours of the morning and woke the female soldier.

Tpr Salabogi is said to have later apologised to the woman, but told her he thought she had ‘liked it’.

Wing Commander Michael Saunders, prosecuting, told the court the incident happened in a common room on Bovington Camp, where Tpr Salabogi and the female soldier were in the Royal Armoured Corps.

Trooper Ratu Salabogi is accused of sexually assaulting a female comrade after she fell asleep on a sofa while watching a film on an Army base

Trooper Ratu Salabogi is accused of sexually assaulting a female comrade after she fell asleep on a sofa while watching a film on an Army base

Trooper Ratu Salabogi is accused of sexually assaulting a female comrade after she fell asleep on a sofa while watching a film on an Army base

He said: ‘[The female soldier] had been in the common room that evening watching a movie and she fell asleep on the sofa in front of the TV.

‘In the early hours [Tpr Salabogi] was seen leaning over the sofa and fondling [her] breasts over her clothing on two separate occasions.’

He told the hearing two male colleagues spotted this, confronted Tpr Salabogi and woke the female trooper.

Wg Cdr Saunders added: ‘Shortly after, this led to an argument in the smoking area. He tried to apologise, she didn’t accept and an argument ensued where he punched [one of his male colleagues].

‘He claims this is a misunderstanding and others wrongly interpreted what they witnessed.

‘He says on the first occasion he was retrieving a remote control and on the other occasion he was simply trying to wake her up.

‘As for the battery, he says he accidentally struck [one of the soldiers] while he was defending himself because [another soldier] was becoming aggressive towards him.’

The alleged victim told Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, she had been watching the film in an accommodation block’s common room when she fell asleep.

She said: ‘I remember putting the movie on but I fell asleep halfway through. I remember being woken by [another male soldier] and he said I had to wake up.

‘I thought it was because of the time and I’d slept through but he said [one of the other soldiers] caught Tpr Salabogi touching my breasts while I was asleep.’

The female soldier said she then went outside to a smoking shelter but Tpr Salabogi followed her.

She added: ‘Tpr Salabogi came straight up to me and he was asking me not to be mad at him.

‘He said to me he thought I liked it because apparently when I was asleep I grabbed his hand closer.

Wing Commander Michael Saunders, prosecuting, told the court the incident happened in a common room on Bovington Camp, where Tpr Salabogi and the female soldier were in the Royal Armoured Corps

Wing Commander Michael Saunders, prosecuting, told the court the incident happened in a common room on Bovington Camp, where Tpr Salabogi and the female soldier were in the Royal Armoured Corps

‘I told him to leave me alone, that I didn’t want to be anywhere around him.

‘After that he kept trying to apologise to me and I was like ‘come on, leave me alone’ and that’s when he started to get angry.’

She said Tpr Salabogi tried to punch one soldier but missed, then punched another in the face with his fist.

Tpr Salabogi denies two charges of sexual assault and one charge of battery.

Cross examining the woman, Yogain Chandarana, defending, said: ‘[Tpr Salabogi] had never acted inappropriately or shown any interest in you before had he? No. And you had not shown any interest in him.

‘He was not apologising to you for touching you. He was apologising to everyone because they had got it wrong and it was a misunderstanding.’

The trial continues.

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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