Millionaire cleared of groping woman between legs outside yacht club

Millionaire cleared of groping woman between legs outside yacht club

Powerboating millionaire, 39, is cleared of groping woman between the legs outside the Royal Thames Yacht club

  • Peter Bonham Christie, 39, said claim was to get him drummed out of yacht club
  • He was accused of groping a 27-year-old in early hours of November 30, 2018
  • Jury took less than three hours to unanimously find Bonham Christie not guilty
  • He was immediately discharged following verdict and did not apply for any costs

A powerboating millionaire was cleared today of groping a woman between the legs outside the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Peter Bonham Christie, 39, always maintained his innocence, insisting the motivation for the claim was to get him drummed out of the 245-year-old private members club in Knightsbridge, London.

The jury at Isleworth Crown Court took less than three hours to unanimously find Bonham Christie not guilty of one count of sexual assault.

Entrepreneur Bonham Christie, whose company transports expensive classic cars, was accused of ‘lunging’ towards the 27-year-old in the early hours of November 30, 2018, and thrusting his hand between her thighs. 

Peter Bonham Christie, 39, always maintained his innocence, insisting the motivation for the claim was to get him drummed out of the 245-year-old private members club

Founded in 1775, the Royal Thames Yacht Club is the oldest continuously operating yacht club in the world as well as being the oldest royal yacht club

She told the trial she was left shaken and upset by the incident and her evidence was backed up by club member Andrew Sutherland, 60, who was enjoying a cigarette with her. 

However Bonham Christie, who attended £40,000-a-year Millfield School, insisted he never touched the woman, but had gone outside to confront Mr Sutherland over a cocaine allegation he made about him.

He said: ‘It’s nonsense, complete nonsense. The whole thing is ridiculous. I know that I didn’t do it. She’s convinced something’s happened, I didn’t do it, that’s it.

‘All they wanted was for me to be thrown out of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. They got trapped in their lie. What they have done is wrong.’

The defendant had spent the evening at auctioneers Bonhams, where he had a contract to transport expensive cars for sale, before moving onto five-star Claridge’s. 

In total he consumed two glasses of champagne, two vodka and tonics and a glass of wine.

Bonham Christie insisted he never touched the woman, but had gone outside to confront Andrew Sutherland over a cocaine allegation he made about him

The jury at Isleworth Crown Court (pictured above, file photo) took less than three hours to unanimously find Bonham Christie not guilty of one count of sexual assault

He says that, at the yacht club, Mr Sutherland told a female friend and senior business client of him: ‘Nice guy, nice guy, shame he takes too much cocaine’, prompting the confrontation outside. 

He said: ‘I was fuming with what he said, but I got nowhere. He had just said to one of my senior clients a lie and I grabbed him and shook him.

‘I said: “Andrew, what the f*** did you do that for? Why did you say that?” That was it.’

Bonham Christie was immediately discharged by Recorder Annabel Darlow QC following the jury’s verdict and did not apply for any costs.

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