A FUNERAL director has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a female colleague by groping her bottom at an Edinburgh business.

Craig Armstrong, 52, attacked the woman by grabbing and slapping her buttocks in the kitchen area of the Capital funeral parlour in January last year.

Armstrong also targeted the victim by making sexual comments about her breasts and asking if she was late for work because she had been “sha**ing” her partner.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told that the “creepy” funeral boss, of High Street, Musselburgh, also labelled the woman “a wee slut” and “a wee dirty” in front of work colleagues.

The victim reported the sex assault on her to the company’s management and Armstrong was suspended before being sacked from his position and the incident was reported to the police.

He denied any wrongdoing and stood trial this month accused of sexual assault and intentionally directing sexual communication to the woman between October 2021 and January last year.

'I thought he was a creep'

Funeral worker Joyce Cruickshank told the court that she witnessed the sex attack on her colleague when Armstrong walked up behind her and “put his hand on her bottom” during a lunch break.

Mrs Cruickshank, 52, said that she also overheard Armstrong making comments about “the size of her breasts” and asking the woman “are you late [for work] because you were sha**ing?”.

She told the trial that Armstrong would call the woman “a wee slut” and “a wee dirty” in front of other employees during work hours.

She said: “I felt like taking her under my wing in a motherly fashion. I wouldn’t like my daughter to be spoken to like that in a place of work.

“Honestly, I thought he was a creep.”

Armstrong also gave evidence and said that there had been “banter” between the staff but denied making any sexual comments towards the woman.

He also told the court that he did not sexually assault the woman by grabbing or slapping her bottom while they were alone in the kitchen area of the funeral business.

'Scared of the repercussions'

In her closing speech, fiscal depute Erin Illand said that the victim, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, had given “candid and emotional” evidence while describing the assault on her.

Ms Illand said that the woman “loved her job” but had been “scared of the repercussions” of reporting Armstrong to the funeral business’s management.

Ms Illand said that Armstrong had also targeted the woman by making comments about the size of her breasts while they worked together in the garage area of the funeral parlour.

She added that some of the comments made by Armstrong included labelling the woman “a slag” and “a dirty b****”.

'I did not find you credible'

Armstrong returned to the dock on Friday, where Sheriff Roderick Flinn found him guilty of sexual assault and directing graphic sexual language towards the woman.

Sheriff Flinn said: “I find you guilty of both charges on the complaint.

“The complainer’s distress in the witness box was self-evident. She presented as a truthful witness.

“Joyce Cruickshank presented as a truthful witness. Neither sought to exaggerate their evidence.

“I did not find you a credible or reliable witness.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that you made comments to [the woman] that were sexualised in their nature and derogatory in their terms.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the incident in the kitchen area took place and was intentional and sexualised in nature.”

The sheriff deferred placing Armstrong on the sex offenders' register until he had the social work report prepared and sentence was deferred to February.

Armstrong was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman by handling and striking her buttocks at the funeral director’s business premises in Edinburgh on January 13 last year.

He was also found guilty of intentionally directing sexual communication at the woman without consent by using repeated graphic sexual language when commenting on her private life and repeatedly uttering derogatory remarks to her at the same location between October 1, 2021, and January 13 last year.