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Married Army Sergeant raped a colleague after getting drunk at barracks mini-festival called ‘Camp Messtival’, court martial hears


  • Michael Ball, 37, is accused of carrying out attack at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon 

A married Army Sergeant raped a colleague on an army base after spending all day drinking at a barracks mini-festival called ‘Camp Messtival’, a military court has heard.

Sgt Michael Ball, a 37-year-old father-of-two, spent the day and evening at the event – a parody of the well-known Camp Bestival – at Dalton Barracks in Abingdon before heading to an after-party in the junior officers’ mess, something that was strictly forbidden.

A Military Court, sitting in Catterick, has heard how the decorated sergeant had been very drunk when he targeted a female corporal at the after party in July last year.

The complainant, aged in her twenties, who cannot be named, told the court how Ball ‘had been acting weird’ on the night of the attack.

While he had spent the afternoon and evening drinking she had been working and hadn’t attended the event and didn’t get back to the barracks until 3am.

Sgt Michael Ball, 37, is accused of raping a colleague at his army base in Dalton Barracks, Abingon, after he attended a mini-festival called 'Camp Messtival'

Sgt Michael Ball, 37, is accused of raping a colleague at his army base in Dalton Barracks, Abingon, after he attended a mini-festival called ‘Camp Messtival’

When she did encounter Sgt Ball at this point, she said, he had been so drunk he had ‘been sick’ in front of her and other junior ranking officers at an impromptu party in her room.

The court heard that the Sgt had been so intoxicated he had been sent to ‘sleep it off’ in a room next door only to repeatedly emerge to try and get back into the after party.

The court heard that in the early hours at around the time of the incident, another officer who had not attended the party had seen Sgt Ball outside the female corporal’s room with his shirt off and banging on her door, apparently attempting to gain entry, after returning from the room where they had tried to get him to sleep.

It was alleged Sgt Ball then ‘pretended’ to fall asleep in the corporal’s room and when the other attendees of the after party had all left, at around 9am, he got up and attempted to have sex with her against her will.

The married father-of-two told the Military Court he thought his female colleague was sexually interested in him as she signed a previous text message with an 'X'

The married father-of-two told the Military Court he thought his female colleague was sexually interested in him as she signed a previous text message with an ‘X’ 

Breaking down in tears as she gave her evidence, she described how she had tried to protect herself from Sgt Ball and fought him off but that ‘he was twice my size’ so she had not been able to stop him.

She said she had telephoned her partner and then her mother immediately following the attack in distress.

The married father told the Military Court that he thought his alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been interested in him sexually because she had previously signed a text message to him with an ‘X’ and that he ‘thought she had a crush on him.’

He said he had returned to the area around her room to look for the woman after he heard that Military Police were looking for him regarding an allegation of rape.

When questioned, Sgt Ball told the military panel that he had returned to the scene because he ‘panicked’ and was ‘afraid’.

A junior officer stationed on the door to protect the crime scene told the court how Sgt Ball was ‘angry and agitated’ and demanded to know where the complainant was before barging past him and entering the room to look for her.

Defending Sgt Ball, Matthew Bolt told the complainant that this was a case ‘of buyer remorse’ and that Ball, from Ormskirk, Lancashire, is a ‘decorated officer’.

The trial continues.



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