Army major in sex scandal told he must resign

I have tracked this one for some time. Perhaps it nears it's end.

Army major in sex scandal told he must resign
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 16/04/2004)

The Major at the centre of a sex scandal involving his affair with a warrant officer was given 28 days to resign his commission or face the sack yesterday.

The Army Board met on Wednesday and decided that Major Alastair Ross, who was once tipped to be the next commanding officer of the King's Royal Hussars, was not a fit person to hold the Queen's commission.

It is against Army regulations for a commissioned officer to have a sexual relationship with any "other ranks".

If he resigns as ordered he will be entitled to a £14,000-a-year pension and a £40,000 gratuity, something which still rankles with Angela McConnell, the warrant officer with whom he had an affair, who left the Army with nothing.

Mrs McConnell, who took the Army to an employment tribunal alleging that Major Ross "compelled her" into a sexual relationship, said: "He should have to earn the privilege of a pension - not just be given it after his behaviour. I now know why women in the Army suffer in silence. They won't come forward now after seeing the way I have been treated."

An Army source said: "Major Ross has been asked to resign within 28 days. He had a promising career but destroyed that by breaking the rules. He was warned not to make a fuss or appeal or he would be kicked out."

Major Ross, 40, of Kensington, west London, is married to an Italian academic who lives in Brussels. The couple have two children.

Mrs McConnell told the tribunal that Major Ross spent weeks bombarding her with several hundred telephone calls and text messages in order to get her into bed.

She lost her case and is preparing an appeal, with a key factor to be the tribunal's willingness to allow the MoD to examine her own sexual history in detail while refusing to allow any discussion of his.

Mrs McConnell, who is now a deputy manager in an estate agents said: "I won't let him get away with it."

The tribunal defended its decision not to allow Major Ross to be questioned on his promiscuity. But it acknowledged in its judgment that he was "no stranger to extra-marital affairs" and said it was satisfied that "he exceeded his position of trust and acted inappropriately with junior ranks".

It heard that Major Ross had a series of affairs with junior soldiers, including a staff sergeant who sent him a video of her having sex with her husband.

The video was intercepted by customs officers in Cyprus, where Major Ross was then based, and he became the subject of an investigation by the Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch. The tribunal also heard that he once told Mrs McConnell that a female lance-corporal with whom he had an affair had complained about him but he escaped punishment because the Army accepted his claim that she seduced him.

One lance-corporal told the tribunal that while she was serving with the King's Royal Hussars, Major Ross had sent her a series of mobile telephone text messages culminating in one which asked her to come to his cottage for a drink. She declined his offer.

The tribunal was told how officers within the King's Royal Hussars had a "bets book" in which they wagered each other over challenges laid down over dinner. One challenge was to seduce the regiment's lesbian stable maid, the tribunal was told.

Capt Samantha Roberts, the regimental equal opportunities adviser, complained to the tribunal that one of the officers had bet another that he would be able to sleep with her.

The evidence led the regiment's adjutant to complain that his regiment was being portrayed as a mix of the television series Footballers' Wives and Red Cap, as opposed to the "very gentlemanly and refined place" it was.
If he's judged to be in the wrong then sack him!!

Why this crap about 28 days to resign? If he's wrong he's wrong, - end of case.

This is what makes this whole thing suck (sorry Angela!!) and I look forward with anticipation to round two, - the appeal!! :D
I really can't understand all the fuss about him resigning with a pension and her without. He had completed sufficient service for an immediate pension, if she had completed sufficient service then she too would be leaving with a pension. He was always going to be told to resign, and the firm was quite lenient with her by offering her favourable treatment allowing her to stay in until she was pensionable, albeit at a lower rank. That apparently wasn't good enough and so she started proceedings.

I really can't understand either why she feels so upset about not being allowed to bring up his prior sexual activity at the tribunal. The whole thing was about how she had been treated unfairly, brought about at her own instigation. His prior behaviour surely is irrelevant to the way she has been treated by the MOD.

I think she has been incredibly naive throughout, where he has maintained at least some dignity. Aside from the fact that she lost the tribunal, she has shamelessly sold her sordid tales one-sidedly to the tabloids. I hope that it serves as a warning to others who think that they can run crying to an employment tribunal when they have been caught out. Had their affair not been discovered then I suspect that she wouldn't be complaining about any maltreatment.


Is this news? Didn't we go through all of this a couple of weeks ago?
No. The patent injustice of it mustn't be allowed to slip or slide.

Thank the wee man for the British system.
I know this has been beaten to death already but it does stink a little bit!

She leaves and gets next to nothing (not including the stories to the papers! :? ) and he can leave with pension and hand out intact. people will be looking at this and seeing evidence of 2 sytems of justice. One for officers and one for us others!

Both should have treated equally, if he gets his pension then so does she. If she is demoted then so is he.


Er - see Mutineer's post above. One had enough service to qualify for an IP, the other didn't. Simple really.
Chimera - I agree with your sentiments! :D

I suspect that the issue is 'the officer must hang - cos I say so, and cos he's an officer'. Pathetic. :evil:

Let's draw this thread to a close - it's dull, it's clear cut...and it's very, very dull. :D
The_Sloping_Wire said:
Chimera - I agree with your sentiments! :D

I suspect that the issue is 'the officer must hang - cos I say so, and cos he's an officer'. Pathetic. :evil:

Let's draw this thread to a close - it's dull, it's clear cut...and it's very, very dull. :D
My point is not that he is an officer then he must hang but equal treatment dished out to both parties. I take the point onboard about time served etc :oops: but she was demoted and he not! Apply the service test.

Right enough said, it is getting dull. Somebody else, get out there and do wrong so we can bitch about it! :twisted:
This is ..........almost over but it is not just Ross – it is another series of ARRSEs.

What was the CO doing letting this sort of behaviour go on ? If her husband, who had already complained, had not produced the tape recordings would ANYTHING ever have stopped Ross being the next CO ?

What was the CO doing issuing risqué Xmas cards of females, to the Regtl Offrs (including female offrs) when he was the officer overseeing the EO policy…good judgement ?

What was the Offrs Mess PMC doing, a Field Offr who is supposedly aware of ITD 10 and who will command female soldiers, allowing the Bets book to contain wagers encouraging Regtl Offrs to seduce the EO and “lesbian” stable hand (I assume the book was in a public place in the Mess ?)

What did the officers who read Mess books do about it ? ( witless, spineless or blind ?)

What did his family members serving in the Mess do about it ?

What did the female RAO do about the fact that she was sleeping with Ross and knew that Mcconnell was also doing it ?

What did the female RAO do about the fact that the female EO Offr was a target in the Bets books ?

What was Mcconnels previous history ? a WO2 after just 14 years, how many of the named officers named in court from previous units had reported on her – “this way to an O grade my lovely”

What did the female RAO/RAOWO do to stop Ross grooming the LCPL “come to my cottage and discuss your course report”

What did the RSM do about the behaviour in the Mess ? (I suppose he’s now the families offr)

What had the Army done with a serial sexual predator over many years, the Army knew about the RMP wives case 10 years ago ?

We have all enjoyed the gossip factor but there is a serious none “squaddy humour” part lurking here somewhere which it questions the whole ethos of the Regtl system and values and standards

Ask yourself…..would you want your sister/daughter to serve in such an organisation ?

My last post on this weary topic: take his pension off him, he may have done the time but he has committed the crime …in service. If he hadn’t been caught he’d not have resigned, he’d still be serving and this is a blank cheque for everyone to conclude that once they have done their required 16/22 years – it does not debar improper behaviour and prosecution.

We are going to pay him a quarter of a million pounds over the next 40 years for bringing us all into disrepute, call me picky but I would prefer to handcuff him naked to a railing in Baghdad with a tub of Vaseline at his ankles.

Watch and Shoot, Watch and Shoot

You are spot on, IMO, with your observations.

Mutineer, I take it that you are a colleague of the man in question? he may have maintained some dignity throughout, but as the old cliche has it, he knew that when you are in a hole, stop digging. The one sensible thing he did throoughout was to keep as low a profile as he could throughout the recent proceedings.

The man was in a position of trust which he has blatantly abused for his own pleasure. He clearly looks on women as objects. This man has no place commanding soldiers in the 21st century.

His fellow Mess members also need to have a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. If they knew about his behaviour and did not do anything about it, they allowed him to carry on as he has, and as such have a stain on their character, to say the least.

Thats me finished with the soapbox supported position pro tem.
No - not a colleague of the galloping Major, but served some time with the unit and have quite a thorough knowledge of what happened there. She was never demoted, it was merely an option under consideration when she lodged her complaint. She left voluntarily as a WO2 on completion of about 18 years service I believe.

As I understand it an individual's pension can only be witheld on direction from the Army Board, and only in the most extremes of circumstances (ie Treason) as it represents a reward for the service already completed. I know of cases where people have been imprisoned for fraud having completed suffuicient service for an immediate pension and been allowed to keep it, so to withold his pension for immoral behaviour (not criminal) would be a little harsh. Likewise she has left voluntarily (notwithstanding her continued service would almost certainly have been untenable) with her pension rights intact - the fact that she has insufficient service for an immediate pension is unfair, but only because the pension systems for officers and soldiers is unfair (and currently being overhauled to iron out the inconsistencies). If she were to redress this inequity she might gain more sympathy :?:
Thanks very much for that, puts everything into total perspective.

However, I and many others feel he was "let off" lightly. But the "told to resign" outcome is some justice but possibly not enough for some people.


Agree entirely with Mutineer's point on the pension. I too have no axe to grind here, but the individual has paid for that pension through a proportion of his salary for his whole career. She also had the option to soldier on (albeit at reduced rank if that had been enacted) in which case she would surely have retired at 22 with a WO2's pension anyway as being the highest substantive rank that she had held. He had no choice.
chimera said:
She also had the option to soldier on (albeit at reduced rank if that had been enacted) in which case she would surely have retired at 22 with a WO2's pension anyway as being the highest substantive rank that she had held.
Not quite true. Pension is based on the highest paid rank for 2 out of the last 5 years of service. As she still had 4 or 5 years to serve up to the 22 year point she would only have managed a Cpl's pension (unless she made Sgt again).

By leaving voluntarily she retains the rights to a WO2's pension, but this does not become payable until she reaches age 60, rather than immediately on discharge.


OK you are right, but I guess it is likely that unless she had promoted very fast as a late joiner, given her age, and as a sub-WO2, she would have had 5 more years to go.

I think you can see where I was coming from though.

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