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Canterbury: Matthew Champion sentenced for sexually assaulting woman

By Paul Hooper

A car mechanic has avoided an immediate jail sentence after claiming he sexually assaulted a woman when he was asleep.

The victim had sat on a sofa next to Matthew Champion after a night of boozing at a celebration bash, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

But she awoke from to find herself being sexually assaulted by the 22-year-old, from Coastguard House, Swalecliffe.

Canterbury Crown Court. Picture Canterbury Law Courts

Canterbury Crown Court. Picture: Canterbury Law Courts

Champion was challenged by the victim’s angry boyfriend but denied the assault adding: “If I did anything, I didn’t mean to. I must have been asleep.”

Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson said the sex attacker was “kicked out” of the property but 10 minutes later sent a text saying: “I am sorry, I honestly don’t remember. I am sorry if I have done what was said.”

The assault was reported to police and Champion was arrested and admitted having “romantic feelings” for the woman but said he couldn’t recall the incident.

Mr Stevenson said DNA tests later corroborated the victim’s account, which left her feeling “violated and disgusted”.

Champion, who admitted the sexual assault, said he had drunk a variety of alcohol that night including Jack Daniels whisky, rum, Sambuca and Jagerbombs.

 Judge Simon James

Judge Simon James

He told police that one a scale of 1-10 for drunkenness, he was “probably a nine” and had then passed out.

Matthew Hardyman, defending, said despite having no recollection he accepted his victim’s account and was “horrified" that it had happened.

“He couldn’t imagine he could have done something like this in his right mind," he said.

"But because of the amount of drink he had taken, quite frankly, he was not in his right mind.”

"Because of the amount of drink he had taken, quite frankly, he was not in his right mind” - defence lawyer Matthew Hardyman

Champion was given a two year jail sentence suspended for two years, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work for the community and pay £450 court costs.

He was also given an electronic home detention order for four months from 8pm to 6am and told he had to signed the Sex Offences Register for 10 years.

Judge Simon James told him: “Your victim was asleep and under the influence of alcohol and as a result was unable to consent – yet for some reason you decided to violate her sexually.

“Her expressions of disgust and violation are both readily understandable."

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