Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sleepwalking defence fails this time

A man who raped a teenage girl at a New Year’s Eve party and then said he was a sexsomniac began a seven-year jail sentence tonight after jurors were told his claims were a sham.

Michael McAllister, 23, who said the condition made him have sex in his sleep without his knowledge, was one of several guests at the party invited to stay over when it finished.

Later that night, McAllister climbed into bed with a half-asleep 16-year-old girl. He touched her intimately and then had sex against her will as she lay crying, too scared to fight him off. She tried to get out of bed and escape but McAllister just grabbed her and continued raping her.

When he was arrested after the attack in Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire, McAllister told police: ‘It’s not the first time I have had sex with someone while I am asleep.’

However, a former girlfriend told jurors at Preston Crown Court that the only thing she could remember him doing in his sleep was snoring.

In his evidence, McAllister insisted he had been completely unaware of anything happening and was surprised when he was kicked out of the house by other guests.

Giving evidence to the court, sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski said sexsomnia was a real condition.

He said even though McAllister admitted having drunk significant amounts of Martini and vodka at the party he may still have suffered a incidence of the condition.

The case is the latest in a series of controversial trials in which men have claimed they cannot be held accountable for rapes or sexual assaults because they suffer from the rare sleep condition known as parasomnia, which causes people to behave abnormally during sleep by eating (sleep-related eating disorder), walking around (somnambulism) or having sex (sexomnia).

But prosecutor Francis McEntee told the court that McAllister’s assertion that he engaged in sexual activity in his sleep was a ‘sham’ and he had resorted to an ‘implausible explanation’.

Jacob Dyer, defending, told the court: ‘Initially, he was trying his luck, not knowing really whether there would be any consent or not. ‘This was wholly out of character for him. He was very drunk. There is some degree of remorse, despite the failure to admit guilt. ‘There is at least a degree of amnesia, although not amnesia caused by a sleeping problem, but amnesia caused by alcohol.

‘Although there is no admission of guilt, he says he feels like a monster. Following his conviction he stopped drinking altogether.’

Sentencing him yesterday to seven years in prison, Judge Heather Lloyd told McAllister he had sought out his victim while she slept and raped her at the party last year.

She added: ‘I accept had you been sober, you would not have behaved as you did, but most men, even in drink, do not sexually assault, let alone rape young women who are asleep.

‘You are saddened by your conviction. There doesn’t seem to me to be any particular remorse or insight or acknowledgement about what you have done and what has happened.’

Last year a 42-year-old married teacher wrote to the then Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer to request a review of sexsomnia cases, including her own, after Paul Fallon, 42, was cleared of attacking her as she slept next to her husband at a friend’s house.

But the court accepted Mr Fallon’s explanation that he was asleep at the time of the alleged assault, which happened after a birthday party.

Jurors at Northampton Crown Court found Mr Fallon not guilty ‘by reason of insanity’ because he could not control his actions while asleep.

Original report here



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