ALEX SALMOND pretended to be a zombie before sexually assaulting an SNP worker, a court has heard.

The woman said the alleged incident happened at the then First Minister’s official residence shortly before the independence referendum of 2014 and was like “an awful nightmare”.

She also said the SNP leader asked her to “stay over” at Bute House.

She told the jury of nine women and six men: “I just thought ‘There’s no way in hell I’m staying over’.”

Mr Salmond is accused of sexually assaulting the woman, known for legal reasons as Woman J, by seizing her by the shoulders, trying to kiss her and touching her face and leg. 

Mr Salmond, 65, of Strichen in Aberdeenshire, is also accused of 13 other charges against nine other women, all of which he denies.

On the fifth day of his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, Woman J said she had been at Bute House with Mr Salmond after an event, and then gone to the toilet.

When she returned, she said Mr Salmond had changed into casual clothes and was lying on the floor of his private living room, and asked her to work beside him.

She said: “He was lying on the ground between the dining table and the back of the sofa.

“I froze. I was completely taken aback. It seemed to happen very quickly.” She said it made her feel “a little panicked”.

She went on: “He said ‘Have you ever seen that zombie movie?’

“He was still on the floor. As he stood up, he said ‘get up’.

“He stuck his arms out towards me and did an impression of a zombie. I took a couple of steps away from him.

“He put his arms on my shoulders and leaned in to kiss me on my cheek and then proceeded to move my shoulders to kiss my other cheek and then leaned in to kiss my lips.”

She said she raised her arms to move his away from her shoulders.

Woman J said she was “scared” and said she had “absolutely not” consented to being kissed, and took a step back.

She said she then went with Mr Salmond to his study, where he put his hand on her leg.

She said: “I froze, because of the way I was seated as well I felt trapped. 

I became very aware there was no-one else in the building except the security guards – we were essentially alone.”

She said the next morning, she woke up “feeling like I’d had a nightmare”.

Woman J added: “I felt with hindsight it was premeditated.”

Cross-examining, Shelagh McCall, QC, representing Mr Salmond, put it to Woman J that the incident never took place, which she denied.

 Woman J agreed with Ms McCall that Mr Salmond was a “touchy feely, tactile person” who had sometimes kissed members of the public.

Ms McCall put it to Woman J that Mr Salmond’s behaviour had been “inappropriate”, which she agreed.

She also agreed she had continued to work with Mr Salmond after the alleged incident.

Earlier, a former civil servant in the Scottish Government told the court 
Mr Salmond grabbed her bottom “quite forcefully” while the pair were being photographed at Stirling Castle in 2014.

Woman K said Mr Salmond had been “very insistent” she have her picture taken with him after an event, then grabbed her, leaving her “mortified”. 

Woman K said: “As this was happening, the first minister reached down and grabbed my backside. He reached down and grabbed the right-hand side of my backside quite forcefully with his full hand.”

She described her reaction as “shocked and disbelieving”, and said she told her manager.

She said: “It was quite surreal, but at the same time I was having my photo taken and I didn’t want to make a scene. I was doing my job. 

She added: “Time stood still. It felt very deliberate, it was very forceful.
“I think my heart stopped, my adrenaline was pumping a bit.”

She said: “It felt like I was being demeaned. It was unprofessional but there was nothing I could do about it.”

The court was shown photographs 

of the woman with Mr Salmond, in some of which she appeared to have her eyes shut, and to be looking at him in one.

Woman K told the court she looked “very embarrassed” because of “what had just happened”.

She said that when she returned to her office she told her manager. She said: “I told him what had happened, I told him when I was having my photo taken the first minister grabbed my backside.”

Cross-examined by Gordon Jackson, QC, for Mr Salmond, Woman K said she thought the alleged incident “wasn’t sexual, it was about power”.

She said: “That was my interpretation. The first minister grabbed by backside because he could.”

A third complainer, Woman D, told the court it had been a “fairly regular occurrence” for Mr Salmond to touch her between 2011 and 2013.

The court heard the alleged incidents took place at Bute House, in the Scottish Parliament, in a lift and in a car.

The Scottish civil servant said she felt uncomfortable but did not complain as “he was the leader of the country” and was worried it might damage her career.

Woman D said: “It was a fairly regular occurrence over two years.

“It made me feel humiliated. I wasn’t a valued member of the team.

“At times he would place his hand on my back. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable.”

She agreed it happened more than 10 times. She said: “He touched my hair, he touched my arm, my neck, my face. It was all cause for concern.”

Advocate depute Alex Prentice, QC. asked her: “Was this something that you thought you should do something about?”

She replied: “Yes. It was pretty well known. He was the leader of the country.
“I really liked my job, and I felt like if I complained or made a formal complaint, it would be my word against his and it would damage my career.”

She said it would have been “almost unimaginable” to bat his hand away.

She said Mr Salmond had also reached out to touch her face in a lift, and a male civil servant had “batted his hand away” and asked Mr Salmond what he was doing. 

Mr Jackson later asked if she once showed Mr Salmond a holiday snap of herself in a “somewhat skimpy bikini”.

She said she had only done so because Mr Salmond had asked to see her holiday photos. Mr Jackson said: “I take it you don’t just take bikini photos? Why show him that one?”

Woman D replied: “I don’t know.”

The male civil servant later told the court about the alleged lift incident.

He said: “I reached out and batted his hand away. It was an instinctive reaction, it happened very quickly.

“The former first minister reached out, and [Woman D] shrank back, and I brushed his hand away. I think I said ‘stop that, behave yourself’.”

Mr Jackson asked him: “Did you feel the former first minister was in danger of behaving inappropriately?” 

The witness said: “Yes.” 

The trial, before judge Lady Dorrian, continues.