Alex Salmond arrives at court to face 14 charges

Alex Salmond arrives at court to face 14 charges

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh today Alex Salmond has denied attempting to rape a woman at

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Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh today

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh today

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh today

Alex Salmond has denied attempting to rape a woman at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, during the independence referendum campaign.

The 64-year-old appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today to face allegations of offences against 10 women.

They include a charge of attempted rape, 11 of sexual assault – including one with intent to rape – and two of indecent assault.

The charges span a period between 2008 and 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place around the time of historic referendum.

The indictment alleges Salmond attempted to rape a woman at Bute House in Edinburgh in 2014.

It is alleged he placed her legs over his, repeatedly kissed her face and neck, groped her, then blocked her path.

Salmond is then said to have pinned her against a wall, pulled at her clothes and stripped himself naked before trying to rape her on a bed.

The former MP is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman with intent to rape in 2013.

He is alleged to have forced a woman to lie on his bed at the first minister’s official residence then pulled up her dress with intent to rape her.

Both incidents were said to have taken place between the date of the Edinburgh Agreement in 2012 and the day of the independence vote in 2014.

Mr Salmond, pictured today, has previously said he will defend himself "to the utmost" in court

Mr Salmond, pictured today, has previously said he will defend himself "to the utmost" in court

Mr Salmond, pictured today, has previously said he will defend himself ‘to the utmost’ in court

Mr Salmond's preliminary hearing will take place at the High Court in Edinburgh this morning

Mr Salmond's preliminary hearing will take place at the High Court in Edinburgh this morning

Mr Salmond arrives at the court today

Mr Salmond arrives at the court today

Mr Salmond’s preliminary hearing will take place at the High Court in Edinburgh this morning

Meanwhile, the first of the charges involved incidents where Salmond allegedly indecently assaulted a woman by kissing her mouth and groping her on various occasions around Glasgow in the summer of 2008.

It is also alleged he sexually assaulted a woman on various occasions between 2011 and 2013 at the Scottish Parliament, Bute House and elsewhere by touching her bottom and stroking other parts of her body.

Salmond is also accused of taking off a woman’s shoe and trying to kiss her foot in 2013.

The indictment states that in 2014, Salmond grabbed a woman by her shoulders at Bute House, repeatedly kissed her face, tried to kiss her lips and touched her leg and face.

Several charges involved the accused allegedly groping women, including one incident at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow in 2012.

Gordon Jackson QC, representing Salmond, said his client denied the allegations.

Judge Lady Dorrian continued the preliminary hearing until January 22 and set a trial date for March 9, which is expected to last four weeks.

The 64-year-old was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014.

The result of the 2014 referendum – a 55% to 45% vote to stay in the UK – led to him stepping down as first minister and SNP leader.

Mr Salmond is appearing today on a series of sexual assault and attempted rape charges

Mr Salmond is appearing today on a series of sexual assault and attempted rape charges

Mr Salmond is appearing today on a series of sexual assault and attempted rape charges

Salmond last appeared in court in January and later made a statement outside.

He said: ‘The only thing I can say is that I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I’ll defend myself to the utmost in court.

‘I’ve got great faith in the court system of Scotland… that is where I’ll state my case. Now, I’m informed court rules are that your questions and my answers might well breach court rules.

‘You know me well enough to know that I’d love to say a great deal more but I’ve got to observe the rules of the court, and in court is where I’ll state my case.’

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