Carlisle Crown Court
Carlisle Crown Court Google

A man who is accused of sexually assaulting a sleeping woman said he was in a state of "parasomnia" during the attack, a jury has heard.

Mark Gibson is on trial at the Carlisle Crown Court. The 28-year-old from Nursery Place, Hensingham, is accused of one charge of sexually assaulting a woman by penetration on 24 June 2016.

On 1 August, the first day of the trial, jurors watched DVD footage of an interview in which the woman told police that the incident took place when she and Gibson were in the same room.

She said she was asleep until she suddenly felt "a sharp pain. I jumped up. I whacked his hand away. I was left feeling horrible."

Prosecutor Nigel Booth said: "She hadn't consented to that. She told him so, roundly, in strong terms; 'what do you think you are doing?'"

Booth said that Gibson had admitted to making contact with the woman. "Rather what the defendant, Mark Gibson, is saying is this: at the time when he did this, it was in a state of parasomnia — otherwise known as sleepwalking," Booth told jurors.

"I don't actually mean he was actually walking. He was in a state of lack of consciousness, affected by still being asleep, so he wasn't actually awake, and therefore wasn't criminally responsible," he added.

Booth told the jurors that they would hear evidence from two "eminent medical professionals" later in the hearing. The trial continues.