Soldier, 20, who violated female colleague during 'rough sex' kicked out of Army

·4-min read
Thomas Herrington attacked his victim when he was 18 years old (Will Dax/Solent)
Thomas Herrington attacked his victim when he was 18-years-old. (Will Dax/Solent)

A soldier who violated a female colleague by performing a sex act he knew she 'absolutely hated' after he claimed she liked being 'roughly-handled' has been thrown out of the Army.

Sapper Thomas Herrington had 'rough sex' with the colleague when he was 18 years old, while she was 'out cold' from drinking vodka.

Herrington was accused of pulling his victim around his bedroom by her hair and tying her to his bed with a dressing gown belt, then performing a sex act that he knew she "absolutely hated".

It was alleged he violently raped the woman when he was 18 years old, but this was dismissed.

A military court threw out two charges of rape and instead convicted Herrington of sexual assault by penetration.

Describing the act, the woman told police: "It felt really malicious. He knew I didn't like it and he was talking like he was proud. That was really violating because of how much I hate that."

Herrington claimed the female soldier liked being "roughly-handled".

Sapper Thomas Herrington was accused of pulling the soldier around his bedroom by her hair and tying her to his bed with a dressing gown belt, said he had asked about her 'pain threshold' (Solent News & Photo Agency)
Sapper Thomas Herrington was accused of pulling the soldier around his bedroom by her hair and tying her to his bed with a dressing gown belt, said he had asked about her 'pain threshold'. (Solent News & Photo Agency)

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The soldier, now aged 20, said they had sex in the weeks prior to that night, claimed she had "enjoyed" sex that night and that he was "stunned and confused" by the allegations.

But Herrington, formerly of 1 Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment, has been dismissed after a judge told him boundaries during sex must be respected.

Sentencing him, Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor said: "It was an unwarranted and unwanted action that meant she consequently fled the room. Rough interactions has its own inherent danger.

"Boundaries must be respected - you knew because she had told you she agreed to rough sex but that did not include anal activity.

"It was abhorrent to her. This was a boundary you should have respected."

In a victim statement read to the court, the woman said that since the incident "I am struggling to cope with the guilt and shame that I am left feeling".

As well as being dismissed the soldier, who recently failed a drugs test, was handed a three-year community order, and 240 days of unpaid work. He will be on the sex offender register for five years.

Military Court Centre, Bulford Barracks in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where Major General Nick Welch will be sentenced for fraud after he was convicted of dishonestly claiming an allowance to pay for his children's boarding school fees. Picture date: Friday March 26, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
The trial heard the female soldier "drank so much she passed out on one of the beds" at the party before Herrington carried her to his bedroom. (Solent)

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During the four day trial at Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire, a board heard the female soldier "drank so much she passed out on one of the beds" at the party, before Herrington was seen "cradling" her and carrying her to his bedroom.

She claimed he gained pleasure out of her "struggling", dragged her by the hair when she tried to escape, and pinned her down by his dressing gown belt in an attack so violent she said she thought he'd kill her.

She said she eventually managed to "wriggle away", escape the room without any clothes on, and return to the party crying "I couldn't stop him, I couldn't move, I told him to stop".

The female soldier described the alleged attack as "the most unconsensual experience of my life".

Herrington told the court sex that night had been consensual after the pair struck up a sexual relationship.

He said: "We had spoken about interests and liked rough, kinky sex. She said she liked choking, hair pulling, the odd bit of spanking and being roughly-handled."

Herrington said the woman was not drunk but "happy and giddy" during their first sexual encounter that night.

Later, while at the party, the female soldier appeared to fall asleep and Herrington carried her back to his room.

He said: "I locked the door because we were going to have coitus, I didn't lock the door because I was going to have sex with an unconscious woman.

"I said 'are you OK?' and she said 'I'm fine'. I wanted to make sure she was responsive and that she was OK. I told her if you don't want to do this just tell me to stop.

"We had spoken about how I tend to get a bit more rough when drinking and I didn't know her pain threshold so I wanted to make sure she was OK.

Herrington said suddenly the woman "jolted forward", got up, and ran out of the room naked.

He told the hearing he was "completely stunned" and "didn't know what I had done wrong".

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