A BUSINESSMAN who claimed he was sleepwalking when he raped a woman while on bail for an almost identical attack has been jailed for 12-and-a-half years.
Gary Forbes raped his first victim as she lay asleep in bed with her boyfriend after a party in October 2011.
While on bail for the attack the 29-year-old raped a second woman at another house party six months later.
Forbes pleaded guilty to the first rape but denied the second, claiming he was sleepwalking at the time of the attack .
As a result the victim lived through months of delays, fearing she would have to give evidence in court, before he finally admitted his guilt.
Prosecutor Katherine Dunn told Newcastle Crown Court: “The defendant had pleaded not guilty and had stated he was relying on a sleepwalking expert to support his defence he was asleep when he committed the offence.”
The court heard the case in relation to the second victim was adjourned on repeated occasions while Forbes pursued the sleepwalking defence,which he eventually dropped.
Miss Dunn added: “The complainant feels he manipulated the system and made her suffer more than she already was.”
Judge simon Hickey told Forbes his sleepwalking claim and the resulting delay would have made the victim’s plight worse.
The judge said: “It impacts much more when the victim is anticipating having to relive the offence again in court.
“The significant feature aggravating the matter is you were on bail for a very serious offence on another woman.”
The court heard when the first victim woke up during the attack on her, Forbes claimed “she wanted it”.
When the second victim woke up during the later, almost identical attack, he said “Not again, oh no, not again.”
Both victims have said their ordeals have had an enormous impact on their lives.
Nick Lane, defending, gave the court a stack of references to Forbes’ previous good character.
The court heard Forbes set up an IT business in 2010.
Mr Forbes said: “The business struggled, like all new businesses do, and he began to drink and use recreational drugs as a way of coping with the stress he was experiencing at the time.”
Mr Lane said Forbes, who has been the target of attacks by inmates while on remand, has a history of successful relationships.
He added: “He is not someone who has entrenched, negative views towards women.”
Forbes, of Houghton Road, Hetton, who pleaded guilty to two rape charges, must sign the sex offenders register for life.