Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sleepwalker Rapist Gets Five Years Prison

Brisbane, AU -- The jury was warned from the outset - this was one of the most bizarre rape cases they were likely to hear.

Toowoomba mechanical supervisor Darryl Kenneth Lotz, who was sleeping off a boozy night out at his mate's place, was accused of walking into the main bedroom, getting into the bed and raping his friend's girlfriend while the other man slept beside them. At first, the female victim went along with the sexual activity believing it was her partner.

It was only when she heard her boyfriend snoring on the other side of the bed that she turned around to find that the man she was having sex with was their overnight guest. She fled from the room in hysterics. Lotz's defense? He was sleepwalking.

His legal team, led by top silk Terry Martin, SC, told the Brisbane District Court jury about two previous incidents when Lotz had sleepwalked: once as a child and the second as an adult - in the second case, he got out of bed in the middle of the night and urinated on a bedroom floor. It was backed up by expert testimony from sleep physician Dr. Roger Allen, who examined the case and said it was "highly probable" the incident happened as a result of sleepwalking.

Dr Allen said that while the link between sex and sleepwalking was yet to be officially accepted there was a growing body of evidence that backed his diagnosis. He painted sex as routine, primal behavior - able to be performed without consciousness. In his final address to the jury, Mr Martin argued the strongest evidence that his client was completely unaware of what he was doing at the time of the rape was the fact he did it in a double bed occupied by both the woman and her boyfriend.

"What person in his right mind would be doing that, taking the risk he would be caught?" Mr Martin said.

A straight-talking Lotz took the stand on Wednesday and protested his innocence. The divorced father stated his only memory of the episode was waking up in his friend's bed. He accepted he must have had sex with the woman based on the conclusive DNA evidence in the case - but appeared befuddled why what had happened.

At the end, Mr. Lotz has been found guilty by a jury and was last week jailed for five years.

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