Published: 11:23, 04 September 2018
| Updated: 15:06, 04 September 2018
A woman sleeping with her husband was shocked to wake up to find another man in their bed performing a sex act on her, a court heard.
She at first thought it was her husband but when she saw he was snoring next to her she kicked out furiously in her panic, knocking him onto the floor.
Drunk Alex Piper then bizarrely climbed back into the bed beside her.
She froze and did not want to wake her husband because she knew he would “kick off”, so she got out.
Piper was eventually thrown out of the house in Medway.
Maidstone Crown Court was told the 35-year-old machine operator was “broken by shame” and full of remorse about his behaviour.
But jailing him for 16 months, a judge told him: “I say at once this is an unusual set of circumstances.
"I have no doubt you caused your victim great anguish and distress, and ongoing psychological problems.”
Prosecutor Oliver Dunkin had told Judge Adele Williams: “It is on any view an unusual case.”
Piper, of Haig Avenue, Gillingham, had been at the house for a party in the summer of 2016.
"I have no doubt you caused your victim great anguish and distress, and ongoing psychological problems...” - Judge Adele Williams
He became “extremely drunk” and fell asleep on the kitchen floor.
After he was awoken he went upstairs to go to the toilet and then fell asleep in a bedroom. He was left to “sleep it off”.
“That seemed to be the best decision,” said Mr Dunkin. “He wasn’t going anywhere. A text was sent to his wife to tell her.”
The couple went to bed and had sex before falling asleep.
But during the night she awoke with a start to find a sex act was being performed on her.
“Obviously, she was naked,” said Mr Dunkin. “Her first reaction, you might think, was: 'It is my husband'.
"But she looked to her side and to her shock saw her husband was asleep and snoring.”
She later told police: “I could hear loud snoring. I just panicked and started kicking out with feet and legs.
"The person fell to the floor. I heard a bang. I was in complete shock. I froze.”
"I just panicked and started kicking out with feet and legs..." - Victim
She saw Piper standing by the bed. “Things took a stranger turn as he climbed into bed beside her and made a noise,” said Mr Dunkin.
The victim said she was “completely frozen” and wondering what to do. She nudged her husband and asked him to move over.
She climbed out of bed and put on her pyjamas. She went downstairs and told another man staying the night to get Piper out of the house.
She went back upstairs and shook her husband awake and told him what had happened.
When arrested, Piper, who has no previous convictions, said he could not remember the address he had been to or much else as he was drunk, having had about eight to 10 pints of lager.
Asked if he had performed a sex act on the victim, he replied: “Er, I think so. It is a bit sketchy. Sorry, I really didn’t know. I don’t know if I was confused and thought it was my wife.”
Mr Dunkin said the victim was caused “grave psychological trauma”. It had an impact on her marriage and she needed counselling. The couple could not sleep in the same bed again and replaced the mattress.
“I am not the same person any more,” she said in a statement. “I don’t think I will ever be that person again. I was happy and outgoing. This is all due to what he did to me.”
“I don’t think I will ever be that person again..." - Victim
Mr Dunkin told the court: “There is no doubt whatsoever this is an extremely unusual case of its kind, and an extremely serious offence.”
Judge Williams told the father-of-three: “Not surprisingly, she was shocked and panicked and very distressed.
“You are a hard-working family man. There is no doubt you have shown considerable remorse. You have shown the appropriate remorse and shame for this offence.
“I have given anxious consideration as to whether the inevitable sentence of imprisonment can be suspended, but in my judgement the only appropriate sentence is immediate imprisonment.
“I keep it down to the minimum in the circumstances.”
Piper, who admitted assault by penetration, will have to sign on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
Daniel Benjamin, defending, had told the judge: “He is a broken man – broken by shame and full of remorse. He feels thoroughly disgusted with himself.
“Once he left the police station he told his wife what happened. He recognises it is indefensible. He wishes to apologise profusely.”
Urging that a suspended sentence be imposed, Mr Benjamin added: “He is riven with shame and remorse and knows he must be punished.”