‘Sex attack at yacht club left me unable to breathe for a while’: Tears in court as alleged victim of millionaire sailor breaks down
- Peter Bonham Christie, 39, allegedly groped woman and left her in tears
- Woman attending drinks reception at Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge
- She had been introduced to Bonham Christie before going outside for cigarette
A millionaire sailor made a ‘beeline’ for a young woman and left her in tears after sexually assaulting her at an exclusive yacht club, a court heard yesterday.
The alleged victim said she was in such shock after Peter Bonham Christie, 39, groped her with such force she ‘stopped breathing’.
The 27-year-old had been attending a drinks reception at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, London.
Speaking from behind a screen at Isleworth Crown Court, she said she had been introduced to Bonham Christie before going outside for a cigarette with a mutual friend Andrew Sutherland.
She said the pair were soon followed by Bonham Christie, who once broke the offshore powerboat world speed record and represented Great Britain in sailing until 2010.
Peter Bonham Christie, 39, made a ‘beeline’ for a young woman and left her in tears after sexually assaulting her at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, London, a court heard
She said: ‘He came through the doors and made a beeline towards me and put his hand between my legs and grabbed my crotch. I was almost lifted off the ground.
‘It was not just a hand… it was more forceful. It felt quick but at the same time it didn’t. I don’t know how long it took for me to push him away… seconds.’
Asked how the attack made her feel she replied: ‘I couldn’t really speak for a while. It was disbelief. It all just happened really quickly and I couldn’t really process that it happened. I think I stopped breathing for a bit. I just stood there.’
She told the court that Mr Sutherland, 60, immediately expressed his horror and demanded an apology.
She said Bonham Christie’s girlfriend then approached her to ask her not to take matters further. The alleged victim’s evidence was cut short after she broke down under cross-examination and was unable to answer questions.
She became increasingly distressed when the defence suggested she had been drunk and asked her whether she had taken cocaine that night.
When he was arrested Bonham Christie denied touching her, but admitted he had been drinking
‘I’m only here because of what he did,’ she cried before appearing to have a panic attack and having to leave the court.
The defence claims Bonham Christie went outside only to have a cigarette and confront Mr Sutherland over a disagreement.
He was said to have assaulted the woman after an evening dining at auctioneers Bonhams where he gave a speech and a visit to the five-star hotel Claridge’s in Mayfair with his girlfriend and business guests.
Following the alleged attack in November 2018, the woman reported the incident to the club and to police in March 2019.
When he was arrested Bonham Christie denied touching her, but admitted he had been drinking.
Bonham Christie is a scion of a wealthy family that once owned Brownsea Island off the coast of Dorset.
Educated at £40,000-a-year Millfield School, he made his first £1million selling an office water cooler company.
Bonham Christie denies sexual assault.
The trial continues.