Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Updates of Legal Affairs…

“Sleepwalking” through a crime is not that easy

March 30th, 2012

Zack Thompson, 20, was eighteen when he had gone on a holiday to a Portugal holiday resort with a 17 year old girl and was accused of raping the girl for which he was jailed for six years.

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After the rape the girl immediately returned to Britain and lodged a complaint. Thompson of Newark returned to the UK and surrendered before the authorities. Even though he did not deny the attack he refused criminal liability from the start claiming he was sleepwalking and having no memory of the act. Even the judge said he could not rule out the possibility of the amnesia being genuine.

The Nottinghamshire police had to take advice and guidance of experts on sleepwalking defence eventually being referred to Professor Mark Pressman, an American psychologist with the long expertise in treating sleep disorders.

He interviewed Thompson and went through the evidence and found that his behaviour was not consistent with the actions of people normally displayed during sleep walking.

He found Thompson’s memory loss was due to drinking of excessive amounts of alcohol.

Thompson finally withdrew the sleepwalking defence, after it was successfully challenged. He went on to claim that he was insane at the time he committed rape and also assessed by a psychiatrist who rejected the claim and finally Thompson pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court in March.

Sentencing Thompson at Nottingham crown court, the judge, John Milmo QC, said the crime has had a devastating effect on the victim.

In 2011 John Docherty of Glasgow was found guilty of attempted murder, despite claiming he was sleepwalking at the time.

She said she did no wrong which was absolutely right, and the sentencing would make her feel happy young girl that she used to be he added.

Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said Thompson was 18 when he raped the girl, who is now 19, while they were on holiday in Albufeira.

A joint statement from the victim and her family said that the past two and a half years were exhausting and emotionally draining for all of them.