Falkirk man jailed for sex attack

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A man who sexually assaulted his cousin’s girlfriend at a house party has been jailed for over a year.

Shamed Alan Burnett was drunk when he subjected her to the sick attack while she lay sleeping in a bedroom upstairs.

Burnett was part of a group of young people at the house in Falkirk on January 25 last year who had consumed “copious” amounts of alcohol.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard last Thursday that over several hours of drinking in the house he had been “up and down the stairs to and from the bedroom” – and at one stage he, his cousin and the complainer had all been in the bed together.

Defence lawyer Lynsey McLean claimed: “What happened was not planned. It was opportunist and an action he very much regrets. He is deeply apologetic and learned his lesson.

“He is a young man with no previous convictions and has nothing outstanding against him. He also spent some time in police custody before appearing in court for this.”

At a previous hearing the 21-year-old, from 35 Hayfield, Bainsford, had pled guilty on indictment to assaulting the woman at a house on Cauldhame Farm Road, Falkirk, and had sentence deferred for social enquiry and background reports.

Burnett, who was 20 at the time, admitted moving her underwear “while she was asleep, under the influence of alcohol and incapable of giving or withholding her consent” and touching her.

His not guilty pleas to two other charges that he repeatedly touched her body, attempted to hug her, repeatedly attempted to kiss her neck and asked her to perform a sex act on him and verbally directed sexual comments towards her were accepted by the Crown.

Sheriff Linda Smith was told Burnett was a first offender and had shown remorse for what he had done.

But she made it clear sending him to prison was the only option.

Jailing him for 396 days, she said: “I have taken into consideration all the points made by your lawyer.

“However, you pled guilty to the serious sexual offence of indecent assault.

“You took advantage of this young girl while she was asleep and under the influence of alcohol. I cannot deal with this by any other way than a custodial sentence.”

The sheriff, who also placed Burnett on the sex offenders register for 10 years, told the court the emotional impact of what happened will be with the girl for years.