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Man accused of raping friend said he has history of “sleepwalking” and no memory of event

The case continues in front of the Central Criminal Court.

Image: Richard Woffenden

A MAN WHO is alleged to have raped a female friend after a night out has told a jury in his trial that he has a history of “sleepwalking” and has no memory of initiating sex with the woman.

The 29-year-old man described a past instance of waking up to find himself kissing a woman and of having no memory of “grinding” against his ex-girlfriend or “spooning” a friend in his sleep.

He told the court he had never seen the complainant in a sexual light and that she had been one of his first close female friends. “I never would have jeopardised that,” he said.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of raping the woman at an apartment in Dublin in the early hours of 28 September, 2008.

The accused man, giving evidence in his own defence, outlined instances of sleepwalking in his past and said he also suffered “night terrors” where he thought there were spiders or rats in his bed or an intruder in his room.

The man told defence counsel, Hugh Hartnett SC, that in one case he had gotten out of bed, dressed himself and woke up as he was eating a bowl of cereal. He said on another occasion he had found himself outside the front door.

The accused said previously he had woken up kissing the complainant’s sister as they shared a bed.

He said he had been told on another occasion he had been trying to touch or grope a friend’s girlfriend during the night but he had no memory of it.

Past events

He outlined how another friend had told him he had been “spooning” him in bed but he had no memory of it when it was described to him the following day. The man said his ex-girlfriend had also told him that she had woken in the night to find him “grinding” against her.

The accused man told the court that after a night out with the complainant they had gone back to a friend’s house where there was a spare bed.

He said he sat on the bed finishing food he had bought while the woman got into bed and once she was in he turned off the light and got in under the covers.

He said he “definitely” went to sleep and the next thing he remembered was being on top of the complainant and a question about whether he was wearing a condom.

“I had no idea how I got there, I rolled on to my back saying ‘oh no’,” he said. He told the jury the woman then told him she would have to get the morning after pill.

Mr Harnett put it to him that the complainant says it was him that mentioned the morning after pill.

“That’s not my recollection,” he replied. He said he did not have a recollection of initiating sex.

The accused said he fell back asleep and woke up to find the woman gone. He said he had a memory of being on top of her and mention of a condom. He said he was worried and confused so he texted her to let her know he was sorry.

“I knew something had happened but I was having trouble understanding what had happened,” he said.

He said he got more and more worried as there was no communication from the woman. He said when she came to his house a couple of days later he asked her what had happened.

The woman told him he had raped her and he told her he had been asleep. He said he agreed he would get help so it would not happen again. He told the court he went to a rape crisis centre and also a sleep clinic.

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Earlier in the day, Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the state case had finished.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, addressed the jury at the opening of the defence evidence.

He told them that they would hear from the accused man’s family and friends that he had history of sleep-walking. He said they would also hear from two sleep experts who had wide experience in the field.

Mr Hartnett said “parasomnia” was the correct term for sleepwalking.

He suggested to the jury that they would have significant doubt as to whether the accused man was aware of what he was doing on the night in question.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.

Comments have been disabled as the case is before the courts

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Sonya McClean

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