South East Wales

'Sexsomnia' claim actor Simon Morris guilty of raping girl

Simon Morris
Image caption Simon Morris was told he faces a substantial jail term

A 42-year-old actor has been found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl at a house party after getting her drunk on cocktails.

Simon Morris, who has appeared in the TV series Hollyoaks, claimed he did not know he was having sex as he has the sleep disorder "sexsomnia".

The Cardiff Crown Court jury convicted him of rape by a majority of 10-2.

Morris, of south London, was told by the judge he faces a substantial jail term when sentenced in the new year.

He was also found unanimously guilty of another sexual assault.

The prosecution said that the defendant's claims of sexsomnia - a medical condition in which people engage in sex acts while still asleep - were "feeble excuses to escape the inevitable".

Morris claimed during the trial that he had undergone tests at a sleep clinic in Edinburgh to "try to understand" his condition.

The court heard that Morris, who appeared in the film Shiner in 2000, had said he did not remember having sex with the girl at the party in Newport, until police presented him with DNA evidence.

The jury was told that he had travelled from his home in Battersea to the party, where he met the girl and her father.

'Drunk on cocktails'

Sue Ferrier, prosecuting, said: "Morris took an interest in the girl - winking at her, helping her pour drinks and even offering her to stay with him in London.

"The girl got drunk on cocktails and her father put her to sleep in an upstairs room.

"The girl's father tried to wake his daughter at 6am to go home, but as she was fast asleep he left her in the bed for the night.

"By 6.30am the girl was crying rape."

Chris Dzikowski, director of Edinburgh Sleep Centre, where Morris was tested, said he could not rule out the defendant suffering from the condition.

He said: "He sat up and moved unusually, grinded his teeth and had noticeable and sharp hand movements."

"I found that the features were consistent with sleepwalking.

"It is a possibility that in this case he was suffering from sexsomnia - I cannot exclude it."

Judge Daniel Williams told Morris: "You have been convicted of two very serious offences and you are facing a substantial custodial sentence."