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Nightmare of man who attacks wife in his sleep

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James Bugden has a problem. He has nearly jumped to his death,
got stuck in the toilet and nearly strangled his wife – and all of
this was in his sleep.

For the past three years the 36-year-old from Kingsnorth,
Ashford, has suffered from sleep apnoea, a condition where the neck
tightens leaving him, at times, unable to breathe.

Following a knock on the head at work in 2006 Mr Bugden
discovered an equally dangerous side effects to his condition –
sleepwalking. He now fears for his wife of 17 years Carol and their

The father-of-five said: “I’ve woken up strangling the wife,
woke up punching the wife and two nights ago I smashed the
headboard and done all my knuckles in fighting with the

“One night the wife had to grab me back through the window.
We’re in a three-storey house and our bedroom is on the top floor
and I’d climbed on the chest of drawers and was trying to climb out
of the window because I thought there was a fire.

“On another night I’d gone into the toilet asleep and the door
had closed behind me and I then couldn’t open it so I was stuck in
the toilet most of the night asleep.”

The condition, where oxygen in the blood is lowered, has left
James almost blind in his right eye and deaf in one ear following
two strokes.

The former HGV recovery driver said: “When you go to sleep your
body sleeps but your brain stays active, it never sleeps. Swelling
in the neck stops you breathing so every now and then you stop
breathing too.”

The King’s Prospect resident fears he could even end up in court
over his night-time attacks like the recent case of Brian Thomas
from Wales who strangled his wife Christine during a nightmare
about being burgled.

Prosecutors accepted the findings of medical experts who said
that he had a sleep disorder and did not seek a conviction for
murder or manslaughter.

Mr Bugden added: “If my wife was not so on the ball I could be
already in the dock facing prison. I can fall asleep anywhere, any
time; day or night.

“You dread going to bed at night. They reckon if you’ve watched
a film or something on the television you go to bed and your brain
is still re-enacting it and your brain thinks you are in the

“It’s just fingers crossed someone can help because we’re three
years down the line, seven different doctors, eight different
hospitals and we’re no nearer an answer.”

Can you offer Mr Bugden any help or advice? Call our newsroom on
01233 623232.

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