Alex Salmond charged with attempted rape and sexual assault

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Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with attempted rape and sexual assault.

Mr Salmond faced a total of 14 charges when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday.

He was charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.

After a brief hearing, which was held in private, he said: “Now that these proceedings are live it is even more important to respect the court and therefore the only thing I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court.

“I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland.”

He made no plea during the hearing and was released on bail.

Alex Salmond. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Alex Salmond. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Mr Salmond was arrested on Wednesday after attending a police station in central Scotland.

From Linlithgow, West Lothian, was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014.

He resigned his membership of the SNP in August 2018.

Mr Salmond guided the party to a narrow Scottish election win in 2007 and then led a minority government as he became Scotland’s first SNP First Minister.

In the 2011 election, he led the party to an unprecedented victory with a majority win, meaning the SNP’s manifesto pledge to hold an independence referendum could be delivered.

But the result of the 2014 referendum - a 55% to 45% vote to stay in the UK - led to him stepping down as first minister and SNP leader.