Queen's relative jailed for sexually assaulting woman in his castle home

23 February 2021, 14:24

Simon Bowes-Lyon, the Earl of Strathmore
Simon Bowes-Lyon, a relative of the Queen, pled guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in his ancestral home. Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

The son of the Queen's cousin has been jailed for 10 months for sexually assaulting a woman at his ancestral family home.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, the Earl of Strathmore, pleaded guilty to attacking the woman after she repeatedly told him to stop during the attack in February last year.

The court had heard the 20 minute assault happened in a bedroom at Glamis Castle, Angusk, which is the seat of the earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, part of the late Queen Mother's family.

Bowes-Lyon was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

The victim was attending a three-day public relations event at the castle and had gone to bed when a "drunk" Bowes-Lyon went to her room at around 1.20am, persuaded her to open the door and pushed his way before pushing her on the bed and sexually assaulted her.

The woman fled the castle the morning after the attack.

Simon Bowes-Lyon (right), the Earl of Strathmore, is escorted in handcuffs from Dundee Sheriff Court.
Simon Bowes-Lyon (right), the Earl of Strathmore, is escorted in handcuffs from Dundee Sheriff Court. Picture: PA

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Bowes-Lyon: "Throughout all of this she made it clear that she wanted you to stop. She told you repeatedly that she had a boyfriend, repeatedly told you to leave and repeatedly had to keep pushing you away from her. All of which you ignored. Once she'd finally managed to eject you from her bedroom, you returned to the door and pleaded with her to let you back in."

The woman locked the bedroom door and wedged a chair under the handle to prevent him getting back in.

A year on from the attack she still has nightmares and feels panicked by the assault, Sheriff Carmichael said.

He said agreed evidence made clear the woman and Bowes-Lyon had spoken during the PR event and she told him she had "no sexual interest in you and had done nothing that could reasonably have been interpreted by you to the contrary".

READ MORE: 'Obnoxious' Meghan has been 'found out' by British public, caller claims

READ MORE: Prince Harry will be hurt by having military titles stripped, suggests close friend

In a statement outside court after pleading guilty last month, Bowes-Lyon apologised saying he was "greatly ashamed" of his actions "which have caused such distress to a guest in my home".

He said he had "drunk to excess" on the night of the attack, which he said was "no excuse" for his actions.

He added: "I did not think I was capable of behaving the way I did but have had to face up to it and take responsibility.

"Over the last year this has involved seeking and receiving professional help as well as agreeing to plead guilty as quickly as possible.

"My apologies go, above all, to the woman concerned but I would also like to apologise to family, friends and colleagues for the distress I have caused them."

Sheriff Carmichael added: "This sexual assault was made worse for several reasons: you were the complainer's host and took advantage of this position, you forced your way past her to get in to her bedroom, you assaulted her in the face of her repeated verbal and physical protestations that you should stop, and you repeatedly prevented the complainer from getting away from her bedroom and from your unwanted attentions. The amounts of force, aggression and persistence that you used are concerning.

"In mitigation; you apologised to her soon after the assault, you have expressed remorse, you have accepted responsibility for you actions, you have no previous convictions and you appear to be otherwise of good character."

He told Bowes-Lyon a lesser sentence than imprisonment, such as a community payback order or home curfew, was not appropriate.