York & North Yorkshire

Sleepwalker cleared of sexual assault given sexual harm order

Dale Kelly Image copyright Ben Lack
Image caption Dale Kelly sleepwalked into a couple's bedroom

A sleepwalker cleared of sexually assaulting a woman must tell people sleeping under the same roof about his condition, a judge has said.

A jury at Dale Kelly's trial in August accepted he was not responsible for his actions as he suffered from parasomnia.

The 21-year-old from Dalton-le-Dale in County Durham was given a two-year supervision order and a sexual harm order at York Crown Court.

The order requires him to inform people of his condition for five years.

He was also ordered not to contact the woman and to attend an alcohol awareness course.

Judge Simon Hickey told Mr 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."

During his trial, York Crown Court heard Mr Kelly had been to a nightclub with a friend and his friend's partner before they returned to a house in North Yorkshire on the morning of 17 April.

Mr Kelly fell asleep in the taxi and went straight to bed when they arrived, but about an hour later the woman woke to find him in the bed she was sharing with her partner.

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

The court heard he had suffered from parasomnia, a sleep disorder involving abnormal movements or behaviours including sleepwalking, since childhood.

The jury found him not guilty of sexual assault by reason of insanity - which can be returned when a jury believes that a defendant has committed an act but is suffering from a condition which means they could not have been responsible for their actions at the time.

It meant the judge could only impose a hospital order, a supervision order or an absolute discharge.

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