Tribunal told of lesbian encounter in Army stables
A young soldier told a tribunal yesterday how he saw two lesbian colleagues sharing a passionate kiss, one with her hand down the others trousers.
Gunner Ashley Yeats said he felt ’embarrassed’ after catching Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher, 31, and Corporal Louise Ashman, 29, in the army stables of 40 Regiment Royal Artillery in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, where they were all working in early spring 2005.
Miss Fletcher is taking the Ministry of Defence to an employment tribunal in Leeds, alleging male colleagues tried to destroy her career and health because she was a lesbian.
Giving evidence, Mr Yeats said that earlier the same morning he had over-heard Lance Bombardier Fletcher say she was ‘horny’ and wanted sex.
“She then used her mobile phone and called Corporal Louise Ashman – I know this because she called her Louise – and arranged for her to come down to the stables after lunch.”
Gunner Yeats, who explained that explicit talk of sexual activity was common amongst soldiers, said that after Corporal Ashman arrived, the two female soldiers disappeared. He did not see where.
Continuing with his task of collecting hay in a wheelbarrow to distribute to horses, Mr Yeats found the pair when he went into the stables
“I wheeled the barrow into the middle lines of the stables and saw on the right hand wall Lance Bombardier Fletcher kissing Corporal Ashman.
“Corporal Ashman had her hand inside the front of Lance Bombardier Fletcher’s trousers in the groin area, so that all I could see was the collar of her combats, not her hand. I did not say anything but dropped the wheelbarrow to the right of the door and left.”
During the tribunal, Mr Yeats also claimed that Miss Fletcher’s standard of work were slipping. She was not mucking out due to a bad back and did not help with hay because of asthma.
Miss Ashman has previously insisted she was only comforting her colleague who had been upset by the unwanted attentions of a male sergeant.
Miss Fletcher is suing the Ministry of Defence claiming sex discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
When the tribunal began last week, Miss Fletcher said that the sergeant had vowed to “convert” her, and had told her that she had not yet experienced a “real man.”
He also added, “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
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The sergeant allegedly sent Ms Fletcher perverted text messages about his penis and told her to break up with her “minging” girlfriend, according to The Sun.
When Ms Fletcher rejected his advances, she says she was harassed by his friends who forced her out of 40 Regiment, Royal Artillery in North Yorks.
In her new battery, Ms Fletcher faced similar treatment.
She says her tyres were slashed and she received abusive phone calls late at night.
She also claims to have overheard her new superior being instructed to “fuck her over” and “make her life a misery.”
The tribunal continues.