Sexually assaulted sleeping woman who struck him with fork when she woke up
A man sexually assaulted a sleeping woman who had taken pity on him and allowed him to stay at her home.
Tony Potter of Gateshead was kindly invited to stay at the woman’s home after she believed him to be struggling with his mental health.
But after a night of drinking, the woman woke up from sleeping after feeling pain and realised she was being sexually assaulted.
After Potter refused to stop the attack, the woman was forced to strike him in the face with a fork. She then accused him of raping her, but Potter laughed it off and “made light of things”.
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Potter, 41, denied the offence but was later found guilty of two counts of assault by penetration following a trial.
On Monday, he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via link from HMP Durham to be sentenced.
The court heard that Potter, of Lobley Hill Road, Gateshead, put something on social media which made the woman believe he was struggling with his mental health and was “in a bad place”. The woman then reached out and offered to meet up.
Liam O’Brien, prosecuting, said: “They spent several hours socialising together at a house. On one evening both parties consumed alcohol and Valium and then went to sleep.”
In the morning, the woman was suddenly woken by a “painful sensation” and realised Potter was sexually assaulting her. Mr O’Brien continued: “She sought to get him off but he wouldn’t let go.
In desperation, she noticed a Pot Noodle cup with a fork nearby. She took hold of it and struck the defendant in the face. She then accused the defendant of raping her.
“He treated matters as if they were a joke and told her she was a heavy sleeper and he had been biting her to try and wake her up but it hadn’t worked. He sought to make light of things.”
Potter later left the woman’s home and she reported the incident to police. In a statement, she said the sex assault left her suffering from flashbacks and struggled to sleep.
The court was told Potter had 29 previous convictions for 61 offences, including an attempted robbery in 2018 where he tried to take a person’s car while fleeing from police after attacking a man in Newcastle Central Library.
Sentencing Potter, Judge Penny Moreland jailed him for seven years and imposed a 10 year restraining order. He will also be on the sex offender’s register for life.