A hotel manager told a sex assault trial yesterday that the owner on separate occasions pushed up against her, “groped her bum” and asked her to wear her hair in pigtails.
She also told the court that on one occasion when she came to work with bare legs, Raymond Hyams said: “‘You need to wear tights, but actually I would prefer you in stockings, suspenders and heels,”
The 26-year-old hotel worker told Oban Sheriff Court: “I was shocked. I didn’t really know what to say. He then started laughing so I brushed it off as a joke.”
Hyams, 58, owner of the Queen’s Hotel, on Corran Esplanade, Oban, denies sexually assaulting the woman and two others female members of staff.
The charge regarding yesterday’s witness alleges that he took hold of her hair, pressed his body against her, touched her thighs, hips and waist and slapped her bottom.
He also denies touching the hair, body and bottom of another woman and of inappropriately touching a third woman.
All the incidents are alleged to have taken place between 2010-2012.
The witness yesterday told fiscal Eoin McGinty that Hyams first groped her in the bar.
She said: “He walked passed me and grabbed my bum. I was just in shock, I didn’t know what to say.
“It happened maybe up to 10 times, mainly in the bar when there was no-one around.”
She continued: “There was an occasion where he tried to get my hair in pigtails and kept rubbing at my hair.
“He kept asking me to put pigtails in because he really liked them.”
Mr McGinty asked: “Did you ever sit down and tell him his behaviour was not acceptable?”
She replied: “I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I was 23. I needed the job. It was a difficult situation to be in.”
She said Robert Martin, a barman, heard the comment about stockings and suspenders.
She said she eventually left her job in January 2012 after an argument with Hyams wife Susan, a co-owner of the hotel, about mixing with former hotel staff. This row plus Hyam’s behaviour led to her quitting she said.
She went to the police in May 2012.
Defence advocate Stewart Ronnie suggested to the witness that Hyams never pressed her against the till. She replied: “I have to disagree.”
Mr Ronnie also suggested that Mrs Hyams saw her press herself against her husband and moving her body up and down. The woman told the court she never did that.
The trial continues.