Female Royal Navy Commander Sally-Anne Bagnall who showered superior officer with love messages is cleared of harassment

A female Royal Navy Commander who showered her superior with lesbian love messages has today been cleared of harrassment.

Commander Sally-Anne Bagnall was accused of "crossing the line" by "relentlessly pursuing" Surgeon Captain Elizabeth Crowson, refusing to take no for an answer, and sending her sexual texts at all hours.

A military court was told Cdr Bagnall, who is a lesbian, "refused" to accept her boss wasn't also homosexual while they worked together at the Defence Primary Health Care HQ in DMS Whittington, Staffs.

Cdr Bagnall insisted Capt Crowson was "in denial about her sexuality' and "suppressing her true feelings about her", the court heard.

Cdr Bagnall admitted to annotating Capt Crowson's work emails and confronting her with them, claiming within them she had used "coded" words to send her "hidden love messages".

The 51-year-old sent Capt Crowson – a married mother-of-three – messages about her "sex drive" and three-way relationships .

Though Capt Crowson said she felt "scared and frightened" and branded her second in command "nutty", Cdr Bagnall was today cleared of harassment.

Cdr Bagnall argued Capt Crowson was mutually seeking a relationship with her – even claiming her boss looked at her breasts, made sexual innuendos, wanted to start an affair, and told her "I love you".

Defence lawyer Dingle Clark said Cdr Bagnall's efforts to start a relationship were "miles away" from amounting to harassment and said the issue should have simply been a service complaint instead.

Today at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, Cdr Bagnall, who has served for 23 years, turned and smiled to her barrister as she was acquitted.

A panel of five senior Navy officers deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes following the five-day trial.

During the trial, Cdr Bagnall claimed: "There was a mutuality to it. I saw it as two people pursuing a relationship. I don't think I did anything that was not reasonable from what she said.

"I was pursuing a romantic relationship and I believe she was doing the same… I thought she wanted to have an affair and have a deeper connection."

She also claimed Capt Crowson flashed diamond earrings at her, eyed her up at work and was "testing her for an affair".

Capt Crowson denied all of her junior's claims.

She said: "I was always very clear about my sexuality, I've never had any leanings in that direction whatsoever.

"She refused to accept my assertions that I was not gay or looking to start a romantic relationship with her. She refused to accept them no matter how clearly I stated them."

Cdr Bagnall, who lives near DMS Whittington, now serves at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth, Hants.

Capt Crowson, whose family home is in Helensburgh, Scotland, is now commanding officer of the Institute of Naval Medicine in Gosport, Hants.

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