Woman woke to find man abusing her in Rugby flat

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A man who sexually abused a sleeping woman who was 
spending the night at his Rugby flat has been ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ programme.

Gareth Harper pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three charges of assaulting the young woman.

Harper, 30, of Peter Court, Clifton Road, Rugby, was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, with two years supervision, and was ordered to take part in a community sex offender programme and to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe said that earlier this year, after returning from a comedy club they had both been to, it was agreed the young woman should stay the night at Harper’s flat ‘as a friend’ rather than drive home because she had been drinking.

She woke at 5am to find him sexually assaulting her. She immediately left for her car.

From there she sent him a text 
demanding to know what he thought he was doing, and he replied with an apology.

The incident was reported to the police, and when he was arrested Harper admitted sexually assaulting her.

Simon Ward, defending, said Harper, who had no previous convictions, was “devastated” by what he had done.

Recorder Richard Atkins QC told Harper: “You knew she did not want a relationship with you, and when she got into bed she kept her clothes on, making it quite clear to you she did not want any form of sexual activity.

“You, in the middle of the night, decided to take advantage of her - and on the second occasion she woke to discover what you were doing.

“She realised what was going on, and she left immediately.

“You are 30 years of age now and of hitherto good character - and you are devastated at what you had done.”

But the recorder spared Harper prison - because he did not believe it would serve the interests of the public.

Recorder Atkins said: “In my opinion these offences are so serious that they merit a custodial sentence.

“The major concern I have is the protection of the public and to make sure you do not do anything like this again.

“It seems to me that if I send you to prison straight away I will not be able to protect the public as I wish, and the way to do so is to put you on a community sex offenders’ group programme.”