A MAN who attempted to rape a woman as she slept on a sofa bed has been jailed for three years and four months.

Jason Paul Jeffrey had initially denied the offence but pleaded guilty half way through a trial after hearing powerful evidence from the victim and her sister.

The 48-year-old, formerly of Christchurch, admitted committing the offence at a property in Longfleet Road in Poole on December 21 2016.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the victim and three of her friends had attended a Christmas party in Parkstone and decided to continue drinking at the Xchange bar in The Triangle, Bournemouth.

The court heard that at around 1am Jeffrey walked into the club and sat at the bar with a drink. He then started talking to one of the victim’s friends. They all left and went back to an address on and continued drinking.

One witness described seeing their male friend passionately kissing Jeffrey twice.

The victim, who is aged in her 30s, fell asleep on the floor next to her friend wearing a dressing gown. She was later moved onto a sofa bed and covered with a blanket.

The next thing she remembers is waking up and discovering Jeffrey trying to have sex with her and bruises on her thighs. She got up and left. She called her partner but could not get through so she called her sister who lives in another part of the country and told her what had happened.

It was reported to Dorset Police just before 8am. Officers attended the address and arrested Jeffrey at the scene. He was charged in July 2018.

Detective Constable Chris Panther, of Dorset Police, said: “Jason Jeffrey assaulted his victim as she lay sleeping. This incident has had a significant and lasting impact on her.

“I would like to pay tribute to her for coming forward, supporting the prosecution and giving evidence. It was due to her powerful evidence, and that of her sister, that caused Jeffrey to change his plea to guilty during the trial. I hope this case sends out a very strong message that we will do all we can to support victims and bring offenders to justice.”

If you have experienced sexual violence, or if you know someone who has, there are many organisations that can help. Visit dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp for details, or call Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre on 01202 308855 or The Shores (Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre) on 01202 552056.

In an emergency – if a crime is in progress or life is in danger – please dial 999.

Perpetrators – For advice about changing behaviour, call the Respect helpline on 0845 122 8609.