Two Army cadets waterboarded colleague at Sandhurst court hears

Two Army cadets allegedly “waterboarded” a colleague at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, a court has heard.Officer Cadets Jonathan Cox, 25, and Edward Wright, 24, both deny battery and are standing trial at Bulford Military Court near Salisbury, Wiltshire.The court was told that Cox and Wright confronted Edward Flower, now a Second Lieutenant, just after 6pm on August 7 last year.Mr Flower said he had been returning to his room when Cox blocked his way by moving into a “star shape” across the corridor.The alleged victim, now serving with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, said he attempted to crawl through Cox’s legs.”As I crawled through his legs, he grabbed my ankles so at this point I was lying face down on the floor,” he said.”After that he turned me over, still holding on to my ankles. I was lying flat on my back with my ankles being held.”Officer Cadet Cox, still holding to my ankles, lifted me off the floor. I started feeling a bit dazed with the blood rushing to my head.”Officer Cadet Wright proceeded to teabag me while clothed.”Mr Flower told the court that this involved Wright “squatting down” on his face on a number of occasions, with his bottom touching his face. Cox told police that less than 20ml of water was poured on Mr Flower’s head to wet his hair and described it as “just friends being friends”.Colonel Allen said a statement of complaint was made by Mr Flower on August 8.”The prosecution say that is not the action of someone who was taking part in jovial high jinks,” he told the three-strong panel.”He was not on friendly terms with either Mr Wright or Mr Cox.”It undermines the defendants’ suggestion that this was jovial banter between willing participants.”Wright and Cox deny the charge against them, and the trial, before Judge Advocate Alan Large, continues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “It then started to be sucked up my nose.”He said he felt distressed and vulnerable during the incident, which ended when a colleague emerged in the corridor.This colleague told Mr Flower “You woke me up” before breaking wind on his face – with Cox and Wright laughing, he alleged.Afterwards, Mr Flower went into his bedroom and locked the door, later disclosing what had happened to two friends at Sandhurst.Mr Flower said it had a “heavy effect” on his mental health, leading to him putting in his resignation at one point.He claimed he had been “ostracised” by colleagues and spent a week in the medical centre due to his mental health.Prosecuting, Colonel Richard Allen said Mr Flower had been returning from a platoon meeting with his Colour Sergeant when he came across Wright and Cox.This meeting was called after Mr Flower claimed Wright had been “making degrading statements” about him, the court heard.Mr Flower described Wright as “aggressive and confrontational” and said he “belittled” him about his size, saying he was “not strong enough”.In interviews with the Royal Military Police, the defendants insisted Mr Flower had been consenting to what happened.Wright said he had only poured enough water to fill a shot glass on to Mr Flower, who he suggested had found it “amusing”. “I was then lifted completely off the floor again by Officer Cadet Cox for about 10-15 seconds,” he said.”Being the second time, I was getting far more of a head rush and starting to feel quite dazed and confused.”The court heard that the platoon were in the process of moving rooms and there were two field dressings on the floor.”Officer Cadet Wright picked one of them up and stated ‘Let’s waterboard him’,” Mr Flower said.He described the dressing being placed across his eyes, nose and mouth tight enough to stay in position.Cox then picked up a water bottle and “proceeded to pour a continuous amount of water” over Mr Flower’s face, he told the court.”It was a suffocating motion, being completely blindfolded you didn’t have any sense of what’s really going on,” he said.”It made me feel massively dehumanised.”Mr Flower said Wright then pulled back the field dressing to reveal his nose and mouth, keeping his eyes covered.Wright then poured the bottle of water over his exposed nose and mouth for 15-20 seconds, he alleged.He estimated that about 500ml of water was poured over his face in total.”My mouth was open at the beginning until (I was) struggling to swallow so I closed it in an attempt to make breathing easier,” Mr Flower said.

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