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Former Royal Navy officer accused of sexual assault tells court he was a ‘bit of a flirt’

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Former Royal Navy officer, 73, accused of sexually assaulting four victims including two children under 13 admits he had an ‘adulterous relationship’ and was a ‘bit of a flirt and a tease’, court hears

  • Ric Pallister is facing 36 charges including indecent assault and gross indecency
  • The 73-year-old denies all charges, saying any sexual contact was consensual
  • Four women, some of whom were children at the time of the alleged incidents, have accused Pallister of inappropriate behaviour between 1983 and 2004
  • Pallister told Taunton Crown Court on Tuesday that he had had a ‘sexual relationship’ with one of the accusers when she was a teenager
  • He also admitted to having had an extramarital affair with another alleged victim










A former Royal Navy officer has admitted to having a sexual relationship with a woman who accuses him of grooming her as a teenager. 

Ric Pallister described himself as a ‘bit of a flirt and a bit of a tease’ in court on Tuesday, where he is facing 36 charges including indecent assault and gross indecency. 

The married 73-year-old denies all the charges, insisting that all sexual contact was consensual. 

Pallister, who led South Somerset District Council between 2011 and 2018, also admitted to having an ‘adulterous relationship’ with a woman who was also married.

The charges relate to alleged incidents that took place over 21 years, from 1983 to 2004. 

Two of his four accusers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were under 13 at the time of the alleged assaults.

Addressing Taunton Crown Court on Tuesday, Pallister admitted to having what he described as a ‘consensual’ sexual relationship with one of his accusers while she was a teenager.

Ric Pallister, a married 73-year-old, denies all 36 charges including indecent assault and gross indecency

Ric Pallister, a married 73-year-old, denies all 36 charges including indecent assault and gross indecency

The jury heard how Pallister admitted to touching the alleged victim inappropriately while they were in a jacuzzi at his home. 

He said he believed that the alleged victim was 17 at the time and insisted: ‘I did not engage in any sort of grooming’. 

When asked if his alleged victim protested, Pallister responded: ‘Quite the reverse.’ 

He described himself as being ‘a bit of a flirt, a bit of a tease,’ saying:  ‘I was attracted to women. I found it easier to be in the company of females than the company of men.’ 

The court heard that he would make a beeline for the prettiest women in the room and it became a bit of a joke. 

‘I was not conscious of it. I feel enormously stupid,’ Pallister said. He also said he kissed women he greeted on the lips but said it was nothing sexual just a ‘peck with lip to lip contact’. 

He also admitted on Tuesday to having an ‘opportunistic’ extramarital affair with a married woman.  

‘This sexual liaison was a straight forward physical one. It started as light hearted fun then it became more serious but was opportunistic from day one.’

Addressing Taunton Crown Court (pictured) on Tuesday, Pallister admitted to having what he described as a 'consensual' sexual relationship with one of his accusers while she was a teenager

Addressing Taunton Crown Court (pictured) on Tuesday, Pallister admitted to having what he described as a ‘consensual’ sexual relationship with one of his accusers while she was a teenager

Pallister described the relationship as being ‘wholly consensual’ and claimed it took place over several years’. 

However the complainant involved has alleged she only became sexually involved with Pallister after he ‘persisted’ with making advances.    

Pallister, who was an air traffic controller at the Royal Navy Air Station base at Yeovilton, Somerset, during his Navy career, said this was ‘not true in any respect’.

‘Had [the accuser] at any stage indicated to me what was going on was unwelcome to her, it would have stopped dead.’

Prosecutor Charles Row said that Pallister was a ‘trusted pillar of the community, a force of nature, a local character’.

But he said he ‘used his power and presence to take advantage of four complainants in this case’.

He added Pallister ‘consciously and deliberately forced himself on them with unwanted sexual attention’ and ‘groomed, manipulated, controlled and coerced’ the victims.

The trial continues. 

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