LANDOWNER: Holwick Lodge, part of the Teesdale estate Simon Bowes-Lyon inherited in 2016
LANDOWNER: Holwick Lodge, part of the Teesdale estate Simon Bowes-Lyon inherited in 2016

THE Earl of Starthmore has been jailed for ten months after committing a sex attack in his Scottish castle.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman at Glamis Castle, the seat of the earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, part of the late Queen Mother’s family.

Bowes-Lyon, who inherited his family’s large Holwick estate in Teesdale in 2016, was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday. His father, Michael Fergus Bowes-Lyon, was the Queen's cousin.

The court heard that sexual assault was committed last February during a three-day public relations event at the castle hosted by Bowes-Lyon.

Sentencing, Sheriff Alistair Carmichael said the complainer had shown no sexual interest in the landowner.

Sheriff Carmichael said: “She had gone to bed early because she had to leave early the next morning.

“This assault involved you going to her bedroom at about 1.20pm, persuading her to open the door of her bedroom and then pushing your way into the room and pushing her down onto the bed. You then grabbed her hard by a breast and nipple, tried to lift her nightdress up, followed her into the bathroom and stopped her from closing that door, followed her back into the bedroom, pushed her against a wall there.”

He grabbed her bottom and intimate areas, the sheriff said. The multi-millionaire landowner then “got in to bed with her, pulled at her, repeatedly shut the bedroom door when she tried to open it, continued to pull at her and tried to kiss her”.

Sheriff Carmichael told Bowes-Lyon: “Throughout all of this she made it clear that she wanted you to stop.

“She told you repeatedly that she had a boyfriend, repeatedly told you to leave and repeatedly had to keep pushing you away from her.

“All of which you ignored. Once she’d finally managed to eject you from her bedroom, you returned to the door and pleaded with her to let you back in.

“You were drunk. The assault and your refusal to leave spanned some 20 minutes.”

The victim was so afraid that she locked her door and wedged a chair under the handle and was left shaking, the court heard.

The sheriff added that she still has nightmares.

He added: “The amounts of force, aggression and persistence that you used are concerning.

“In mitigation, you apologised to her soon after the assault, you have expressed remorse, you have accepted responsibility for you actions, you have no previous convictions and you appear to

be otherwise of good character.”

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Bowes-Lyon had been assessed by experts as posing a “medium risk” of committing more sexual crimes.

The court imposed an initial sentence of 15 months and reduced it to ten months to recognise the plea of guilty at the first opportunity.

Bowes-Lyon was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

After his initial court appearance last month, he said he was “greatly ashamed” of his actions, adding: “I did not think I was capable of behaving the way I did but have had to face up to it and take responsibility.

“My apologies go, above all, to the woman concerned, but I would also like to apologise to family, friends and colleagues for the distress I have caused them.”