A 40-year-old Nottinghamshire man who admitted raping a drunken 21-year-old woman has been acquitted after the court learned of his rare sleep disorder.

Andrew Machin wept as the court pronounced him "not guilty" of raping the young woman after he told jurors he was asleep at the time the crime was committed.

The court earlier heard that Machin suffers from a disorder called sexsomania, where people unknowingly try to have sex while sleeping.

The incident took place at a Butlins holiday camp after the woman became inebriated following a seven-hour drinking session.

Machin met the woman at Butlins in Skegness on 27 February 2010. It is reported she was barely able to stand or speak at the time.

The woman was on a short vacation with nine other women, some of whom knew Machin. She was walked back to her room by a female friend who then left Machin to watch her, according to a report in Mail Online.

The friend then fell asleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night and find the man having sex with her.

"I was still drunk," the female friend told the court. "I started to panic when I realised what was happening. I couldn't think properly. I put my hands up and shouted to him to stop. I was shaking."

Machin, who broke down during the hearing, told Lincoln Crown Court that he has had the condition for more than 25 years. This meant he also had sex with his long-term partner regularly while asleep.

He said that on the night of the crime, his only intention was to help the woman.

"I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn't know where I was when I woke up. I was all over the place,' he said, in tears, adding that he felt "digusted."

Machin's partner, 38-year-old Denise Jacks, also testified for him.

"It's like he's hypnotised and someone's got the remote control on. He's disgusted with himself. He just can't help it," she said.

Machin's sister, Kathy Pickering, told the jury that the condition ran in the family and that she herself was a victim to the disorder. "I discovered that when I was married," she said.

However, an unconvinced prosecution said that Machin lied about the disorder and that he committed the crime while being fully conscious.

"If it was sex that I wanted I would have gone out and found it and done it and not said a word to anybody, but I didn't," the rape victim said.

A psychiatrist from the London Sleep Clinic, Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, told the jury that the sleep condition, known as parasomnia or sexsomnia, affects people with family history of sleep disorders, including sleep walking.