Ferryhill rapist given lengthy jail sentence after changing his pleas midway through trial

The Northern Echo: Jailed: Simon Meighan Jailed: Simon Meighan

A MAN who raped a woman after turning up drunk, uninvited at her home, was yesterday (Friday, March 21) jailed for seven years and three months.

Simon Meighan, 30, put himself at ‘ten’, on a one to ten scale of drunkenness, when he knocked at the victim’s door, late in the evening of June 9, 2012.

Durham Crown Court heard that although she did not think she knew him, he claimed he previously left a hat at the house.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, said the woman, who had been watching a televised football match with a friend, allowed him in and gave him a bottle of beer.

Mr Bennett said that after the woman’s friend left, Meighan went to the toilet, and, on his return to the living room his demeanour changed.

“He had been friendly before, but he then appeared drunk and very abusive.”

Meighan grabbed the woman’s breasts and although she shouted: ‘No sex’, ‘no sex’, he dragged her upstairs to the bedroom.

Mr Bennett said despite her screams, he pushed her onto the bed, pulled her clothing off and sexually assaulted her before carrying out the rape.

She eventually managed to kick him off and went downstairs, followed by Meighan, who dressed hurriedly, before leaving, warning her not to phone the police.

But police were summoned and when officers arrived at the house they found the woman “very distressed” and badly bruised from her ordeal.

Mr Bennett said Meighan was quickly apprehended and claimed to have little recollection of the incident, although he remembered being at the house, but nothing more until he got home and fell asleep.

Meighan, of Westcott Terrace, Ferryhill, County Durham, denied rape and assault by penetration, but when it emerged, during his trial, in January, that his sweat shirt was recovered from the victim’s bedroom, he left the court.

He was arrested that night and, brought back before the court the following day, changed his pleas to ‘guilty’ to both charges.

Scott Smith, for Meighan, said he is now fully remorseful, having accepted his guilt once the full evidence was presented to him.

Jailing him for seven years and two months, with a month added for absconding, Judge Christopher Prince told Meighan: “This was an attack on a lone, vulnerable lady, with a significant amount of force used.”

Meighan must sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

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