10th Dec, 2016

Jury dismisses Coventry man's 'sexsomnia' claim he raped step-daughter while he slept

Coventry Editorial 11th May, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A COVENTRY man who sexually abused and raped his step-daughter claimed that if the incidents happened it was because he was asleep at the time, suffering from a condition called sexsomnia.

But his far-fetched explanation for the eight months of abuse to which he subjected his 11-year-old victim was rejected by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.

The step-father, who is in his 30s and cannot be named to protect the identity of the girl, had denied two charges of attempting to rape a child under the age of 13 and three of raping her.

He was found guilty of those charges, one by a majority verdict, and of further offences of sexual assault and assault by penetration, which he had also denied.

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report, and he was remanded in custody after Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said a substantial prison sentence was inevitable.

Prosecutor Simon Rippon had told the jury that during the period the offences were taking place the girl’s behaviour drastically changed, particularly towards him and her mother.

“She would lurk outside their bedroom door at night and burst in and call him names and call them tramps for having sex.

“We say this man, a man with a voracious sexual appetite, had been forcing himself on her more times than she could remember.”

He took advantage of times when her mother was at work – even, on occasions when she was away from home overnight, setting the alarm so he could abuse the girl in the middle of the night.

“Initially he would lie next to her and stroke her arm and then leave, but it progressed.

“More times than she could remember he went into her room and put his fingers into her mouth, parting her lips, and then orally raping her.”

During one incident a neighbour, who didn’t even know the family’s names, heard the defendant saying ‘Go to f***ing bed,’ and then from the bedroom the girl pleading at least three times ‘Please stop.’

“She then heard the girl gagging as if choking for breath and then heard her ask for her mum. She was then heard being sick and crying,” said Mr Rippon.

The final incident took place on the night before she went to the police, when he tried to penetrate her through a hole in the onesie she was wearing – as a result of which the police later recovered a trace of his DNA.

“The following day the defendant and his wife, thinking the children were outside, decided to have a moment of intimacy.

“The girl came in screaming at them, and her mother took her away. She said she didn’t like him doing it because he had had sex with her.”

Her mother took her to the police, and in a recorded interview she disclosed much of what she had been subjected to, although she did not talk about the rape until a second interview.

Denying the offences, the defendant told both the police and the jury that he suffered from sexsomnia, which he said was having sex in your sleep and that, together with steroids he was on, it was ‘a dangerous combination.’

He denied consciously committing sex acts with the girl, and at first denied ever having sex in her room.

In a later interview, after the girl told the police about him raping her and the discovery of DNA evidence, he claimed that although he had had sex in the room, it was with his partner.