Woman tells how Brian Greenslade 'copped a feel' at County Hall reception

Councillor Brian Greenslade

Councillor Brian Greenslade - Credit: Archant

A woman has told a jury how former Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade ‘copped a feel’ of her breast at an official reception. 

The professional woman said she told Mr Greenslade she would break his fingers unless he moved his hand from her breast. 

She is one of three women who allege they were sexually assaulted by him in separate incidents in the 1990s and 2000s. 

She said she was so shocked that she felt the air had been sucked out of the room and was terrified of what was going on. 

The woman said she did not report the incident to anyone other than her husband because she was worried she would be in trouble for threatening Mr Greenslade. 

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Earlier, another woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted in 1995 said she did not report it because she feared for her job. 

The retired computer analyst was allegedly touched up by Mr Greenslade while working late at a business in North Devon. 

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She told Exeter Crown Court she did not tell senior managers because she knew Mr Greenslade was a member of the police authority and feared that making a complaint could affect her job prospects. 

Greenslade, aged 73, of Longpiece, Marwood, near Barnstaple, denies two counts of indecently assault and one of sexual assault. He says the incidents did not happen and that any touching was innocent and inadvertent. 

He is a former leader of Devon County Council and North Devon District council, regional head of the Liberal Democrats and chairman of the Devon and Cornwall police authority. 

The prosecution say he sexually assaulted two women in around 1995 and a third in 2005. 

One woman told the court Mr Greenslade assaulted her by putting his hand down her trousers while on a Devon County Council planning visit in Cullompton. 

The second complainant said she was using a photocopier in a small room when Mr Greenslade cornered her and put an arm around her, brushing his hand repeatedly over her left breast. 

She said he had his arm around her neck and she feared she could be throttled before she broke free, collected her things, and left the building by a side door. 

She said she felt uncomfortable around Mr Greenslade because she felt he had ‘leered’ at her in the past, but did not make any complaint at the time. 

She said: “There was no need for him to put his arm around me. I never spoke to him about it or reported it. It wasn’t done I those days. You did not talk about these things. 

“It would not have got me anywhere and I had a mortgage to pay. He was higher up than me and was on the police authority.” 

The third woman said she was assaulted at a lunchtime reception at County Hall in Exeter in 2005 or 2006, where she met Mr Greenslade for the first time and he ‘copped a feel’. 

She said: “He put his arm around me and very quickly I realised his hand was on my breast. He was asking me what I did. At first, I thought it was accidental and then the hand moved. 

“It was a grope rather than a caress. I just looked at him and said quietly and firmly ‘move your hand or I’ll break your fingers’. 

“I was terrified of what was going on. I felt as if the air had been sucked out of the room. Just after he moved my hand, a photographer asked if he could take a picture of us.” 

The trial continues.

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