Sex attacker jailed after assaulting woman in her own home

Christopher Harling
Christopher Harling

A sex attacker is behind bars after assaulting a woman in her own home.

Christopher Harling pushed his way inside the woman's home before locking her front door, and forcing himself on her.

Harling, 39, performed a series of sex acts on the woman despite her struggling and telling him not to.

In a victim personal statement, the woman said she couldn't forget what had happened to her, which still causes her stress and anxiety many months later.

"She was at home on her own at the time of the assaults," said Mark Guiliani, prosecuting at Durham Crown Court.

"Harling knocked on her door, forced his way in, then locked the door behind him.

"The victim estimates the assault lasted about 10 minutes before Harling left.

"He was later found collapsed in a wheelie bin."

Harling, of Seaham, admitted three sexual assault offences and three offences of common assault.

"The common assaults happened when he was arrested," added Mr Guiliani.

"It took four police officers to subdue him, three of whom suffered minor injuries in the process."

Rupert Doswell, defending, said in mitigation Harland had acted out of character.

"He is ordinarily a decent family man," added Mr Doswell.

"There has also been a financial cost to the family, Mr Harland was on disability payments which have stopped following his incarceration.

"He was very drunk when he carried out these assaults.

"In some ways, it would have been worse had he done it while sober.

"This was an impulsive act, in drink, which he very much regrets."

Judge Jonathon Carroll jailed Harling for five years, three months, and three weeks.

The judge told him: "You behaviour was both disgraceful and outrageous, targeting as you did a woman alone in her home.

"Any remorse you have shown looks to me to be more like self-pity.”

Harling was made the subject of an order banning him from contacting his victim for 10 years, and he must register as a sex offender for life.