Sleepwalking man who 'sexually assaulted friend's girlfriend' told to get treatment

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK

A man who sexually touched a friend’s girlfriend while he was asleep has been told to undergo a programme to minimise the effects of a rare sleepwalking condition.

Dale Kelly was not conscious when he walked into the couple’s bedroom, climbed into their bed and started touching the woman intimately, York Crown Court heard.

He stood trial earlier this year accused of sexual assault by penetration, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury returned the rare verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity on the charge of sexual assault by penetration (PA)

A jury ruled Kelly had committed the act, but was not responsible for his actions as he was suffering from a rare sleep disorder, parasomnia, a condition that involves abnormal movements or behaviours including sleepwalking, which Kelly suffered from since he was a child.

On Friday, a judge heard that Kelly’s actions also demonstrated sexsomnia – a condition characterised by engaging in sexual acts while asleep.

Following a night-out, Kelly - from Dalton-le-Dale in County Durham - went back to his friend’s house in North Yorkshire at around 5am on April 17 2017.

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But around an hour later was found by the friend’s girlfriend in their shared bed.

The court was told how Kelly would have had to have climbed up two flights of stairs from where he had been sleeping in order to access the room.

The victim said she believed Kelly had sexually assaulted her, while he said he had been asleep and thought he was with a woman he had been dating.

The jury found he sexually assaulted a woman but was suffering from the sleep disorder parasomnia at the time and was therefore not responsible for his actions (PA)

After leaving the house shortly afterwards, he texted a friend to say: “I promise right now I have no f** clue what’s going on, I’m still wanting to wake up and for this to be in dreamland.”

Judge Simon Hickey ordered that Kelly undergo a two-year supervision order, meaning he will undergo an alcohol awareness course and an “adapted thinking skills programme” targeting three areas that exacerbate his condition – namely poor sleep hygiene, alcohol and stress.

Kelly, who had his arms behind his back as he was addressed by the judge, was also given a five-year sexual harm prevention order which bans him from contacting his victim until 2024.

Kelly was told to undergo a two-year supervision order by a judge at York Crown Court

The order also means that, if he stays at a property other than his own in the next five years, he must tell the occupiers of the home of his parasomnia.

Judge Hickey told Kelly: “I judge that you do pose a real threat to the female victim and to any person who may be sleeping in the same household as you, because as yet you have yet to undergo treatment.

“If you breach my order the penalties are severe – you could go to prison for up to five years.”