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Richard Woffenden
Rape Trial

Ex-girlfriend of man who says he was sleepwalking when friend was raped testifies about "erratic" sleeping habits

She claimed she had asked the man to visit a doctor.

THE FORMER GIRLFRIEND of a man who claims he was asleep when he allegedly raped a female friend has said she had seen a documentary about “sexsomnia” during the relationship and asked the man to go to a doctor.

The 28-year-old witness told the jury in his trial of instances when the accused man would “grind” against her in bed while he was asleep. She said her “worst fear had been realised” when the accused man told her about the alleged incident with his female friend.

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 woman told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that in the summer of 2008, early in their relationship, when they had only kissed, she and the accused man had shared a bed in a friend’s house. She said she woke up to find the accused “grinding” up against her back.

She was shocked and annoyed as she presumed he was “making a pass.”

She told him to get off her and tried to push him off before jumping out of bed and turning on the light. She said the accused continued to grind in the bed and she asked what he was doing.

“He did not stop,” she told the court, “I realised he was asleep.”


She said she “jostled” him and he rolled over onto his back. “I felt embarrassed for him,” she told Mr Hartnett, “I thought it was a freak incident.” She got back into bed and went to sleep.

She said as the relationship continued she became increasingly aware of his “erratic” sleeping habits including sleep-walking, night terrors and sexual advances.

The woman said in terms of sexual matters the accused man would mostly grind up against her. She said she would sometime try and talk to him and sometimes push him off.

She told Mr Hartnett that she was satisfied he was asleep. She said sometimes he would have no memory of it and other times would ask her if he had done something the night before.

The woman also described an incident towards the end of their relationship where they had been asleep in bed and the accused man punched her in the side of the face sending her flying out of the bed. She said it had caused a disturbance and the accused man woke up. She said he felt very bad about this and other instances.

“Obviously I don’t want him to feel bad because I know he didn’t mean it,” she told the jury.


She told Mr Hartnett that the “grinding” would happen with or without alcohol.

The woman told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, during cross-examination, that she had never woken up with her clothes off to find the accused man having sex with her.

She said the accused man had told her about the incident this case related to in February 2009 when they were coming up to six months in a relationship. She said it felt like her worst fear had been realised and the two of them cried.

The woman said they had spent a lot of time together in bed during which these sexual advances had been made. She said she had asked him to go to a doctor after seeing documentaries on “sexsomnia.”

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