A Scottish woman who claimed she was assaulted and raped by Joseph Short only to see him cleared after claiming to suffer from "sexsomnia" is furious after the former soldier was found guilty of similar charges in England. The woman, who cannot be identified, is demanding to know why her case was dropped when Short claimed to be asleep whilst carrying out the prolonged assault.
Short and the mum from Midlothian engaged in sex, but when she woke up he was on top of her. She asked him to put on a condom but he carried on. When she put up a struggle they fell off the bed. He threw her back on the bed and continued his assault despite her hitting him with a table lamp. Short claimed to be asleep throughout the incident.
It later emerged that even while Short was being investigated over the assault in 2011 he was awaiting trial in Hull. He was cleared of that charge but has now been jailed for 11 years at Birmingham Crown Court for assaults on two other women, one of them in Essex, the other in Shrewsbury where he lived.
In one of the two assaults Short claimed to be asleep, even while cycling after the women when she escaped from his home. During the trial he change his defence to claim insanity, but was found guilty of two rapes and sentenced to 15 years in prison, four of them on licence.
In the Scottish case, Short's sexsomnia claim had been backed by a leading expert on sleep disorders, Professor Colin Espie. However, Espie refused to back Short's claim at the Birmingham trial, saying he now considered Short dangerous because he had failed to heed Espie's advice and avoid harming women.
Short's alleged victim in Scotland says if the Crown Office had listened to her instead of Espie, Short might not have gone on to claim other victims. "I felt they gave in too easily to an expert opinion about something even I know could be ridiculed in court," she told The Mirror.
"If they'd put my case to a jury, I think he'd have been found guilty and he wouldn't have been free to attack the two women down south. The Crown Office failed me, but I'd already been raped. The other two women should never have been his victims as well."
Sexsomnia – also known as 'sleep sex', carrying out sexual activity while unconscious – has been used as a defence in several high profile cases. Actor Simon Morris claimed to be asleep when assaulting a 15-year-old schoolgirl at a party. The claim was rejected and he was jailed for eight years in 2012. Financial advisor John Goldie claimed to be suffering from sexsomnia when abusing two girls over a 26-year period. He was jailed in 2011.