Sailor accused of raping colleague found not guilty

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A SAILOR accused of raping a female colleague after a drunken night out has been found not guilty.

A 19-year-old Able Seaman claimed Marine Engineer Kenni Dinnell had raped her in his friend’s cabin at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been out partying in bars and clubs in Guildhall Walk with ET(ME) Dinnell, 21, and his friend Greg Robertson – a Leading Marine Engineer Artificer – on July 9 last year.

The trio returned to HMS Nelson in the early hours and the woman had sex with LMEA Robertson while ET(ME) Dinnell, who had arranged to stop over at his friend’s cabin, waited in the bathroom.

The trial heard ET(ME) Dinnell was annoyed and told the pair to stop after 20 minutes. The woman fell asleep on the bed. LMEA Robertson later fell asleep on the floor.

ET(ME) Dinnell then climbed into bed with the woman. He said he couldn’t drift off so he tried to wake the woman up to tell her to go home to her cabin at Nelson.

The trial heard the woman turned around in the bed and started kissing ET(ME) Dinnell, which led to sex.

The Able Seaman claimed that she was so drunk she mistakenly thought she was having sex with LMEA Robertson again.

She made the rape allegation after two service police officers knocked the door and found all three sailors in the cabin. But a panel of senior officers found ET(ME) Dinnell not guilty of rape.

The court martial at HMS Nelson had almost collapsed two weeks ago when Judge Jeff Blackett ruled there was not enough evidence of rape.

But the prosecution won an appeal – allowing the trial to conclude yesterday.

Judge Blackett said: ‘This is the sort of case that in my opinion should never have come to court.

‘I do not criticise the prosecution because we live in an atmosphere and era that makes it very difficult for the police and prosecuting authorities.’

He added: ‘A woman that drinks to excess and voluntarily returns with two men then has sex with one man while the other is still in the room does not come to court with entirely clean hands.’

The judge said the woman was right to blame herself for what happened, adding: ‘None of this has brought any credit to the service and all three rates have let themselves and their service down.’