Sleepwalker slapped woman after ‘paedophile’ jibe

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

A sleepwalker who climbed onto a child’s bed in the middle of the night assaulted his then partner after she accused him of being a paedophile, a court heard.

Christopher Mark Coyne (34) had been drinking, had gone to the toilet and had then got onto the youngster’s bed instead of his own. He was found asleep and fully clothed and the child was not awake. Burnley magistrates were told Coyne then slapped the woman three times after she started bellowing and called him a child molester. The woman called the police in the early hours, screaming, clearly drunk and very upset and told them Coyne had been discovered on the child’s bed. The hearing was told how Coyne, a man of previous good character, was a regular sleepwalker. His solicitor said: “That’s all it was.”

The defendant, of Kyan Street, Burnley, admitted assault by beating on September 14th. He was fined £405, with £200 costs and a £41 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Tracy Yates said that at 1-35am the victim rang the police and was screaming and they heard her say: “You have punched me three times tonight.” The man said he had done it as she had accused him of molesting the child. The defendant left the house before police arrived. Miss Yates said the victim had been spoken to several times, but had refused to provide a statement, confirming she and Coyne were on good terms but were no longer in a relationship. In interview, Coyne said he had been in a relationship with the victim for several years. He had slapped her three times to calm her down when she was screaming at him, but did not intend to cause her any harm. He told police she had called him a paedophile.

David Leach (defending) said Coyne had gone to his own bed, fully clothed, had gone to the toilet and then got onto another bed while sleepwalking. “His partner grabbed hold of the completely wrong end of the stick. There was nothing untoward whatsoever.” He said the assault was completely out of character and the defendant regrets his actions. “I don’t doubt that he will never appear before the court again.”