September 2018

Pervert 41, jailed for sexual activity with boy, aged 14

Christian Beard. Photo: West Mercia Police

A so called ‘sexsomniac’ was ‘wide awake’ when he carried out a sex attack on a sleeping 14-year-old boy.

Christian Beard was jailed for four years for sexual activity with a child at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday by judge Andrew Lockhart QC.

The 41-year-old of Donnington Close, Redditch carried out the attack over four years ago in June 2014. Beard initially denied the attack while his legal team investigated his claims he was himself asleep at the time and had ‘no recollection’ of the attack, delaying the case.

However, Beard changed his plea to guilty on July 23 this year which prevented the boy having to give evidence at a trial.

The judge said Beard’s sexsomnia was ‘irrelevant’ as he had been awake when he assaulted the boy who woke up to find Beard performing a sex act on upon him.

Steven Bailey, prosecuting, said Beard had offered the boy alcoholic ginger beer which made him ‘feel funny’ before the assault.

He said of the assault: “He jumped up in surprise, more in anger frankly, and asked the defendant what he was doing. He appeared wide awake at that point.”

Beard told the boy he ‘wasn’t doing anything’ but the boy left at once and told his parents what had happened.

Mr Bailey said it was only after the assault that Beard went to his GP and was diagnosed with sexsomnia. When arrested he answered ‘no comment’ in interview. In a later interview he told officers that if anything happened he must have been asleep at the time.

Two victim personal statements were read out in which the boy described how he could not sleep properly for a year-and-a-half afterwards which made him feel and look ill. He suffered from depression and felt suicidal. His school work, including his GCSE results, suffered as well as his relationships. He said: “Four years I have waited for this to happen. Since this happened I haven’t moved on from it. I feel this has taken too long. I’m still scared and depressed.”

The judge ruled that it was a category 1A offence which involved planning, use of alcohol, a significant disparity in age between the defendant and the victim and some grooming behaviour.

Andrew Lockhart QC said: “I start with the victim. He suffered severely in the immediate aftermath of your offending. He withdrew. It has affected his GCSEs. He has recurring nightmares, reliving that which you did to him.”

He told Beard that, as someone with mental health difficulties himself, he will know how the boy feels. “That is what you are responsible for” said the judge.

The judge accepted Beard’s sexsomnia diagnosis but said of the attack itself: “You were plainly awake and you plainly knew what you were doing.”

Judge Lockhart jailed him for four years. A restraining order was made for 10 years, preventing Beard having any contact with the boy. Beard was also told he would be subject to barring from working with children and must register as a sex offender for life.