A DRUNKEN man forced his way into a woman’s home on New Year’s Eve before sexually assaulting her.

Christopher Harling called at her house unannounced and then pushed his way in, before locking the door.

Durham Crown Court heard he then forced himself upon her, committing a series of sex acts on his victim as she struggled, repeatedly telling him to stop.

Mark Giuliani, prosecuting, said it went on for ten minutes before Harling left.

Mr Giuliani said he was subsequently found having collapsed in a wheelie bin.

But, he then struggled with police who arrested him, injuring one in the process.

Harling, 39, of Seaham, admitted three counts relating to sexual assault of the woman, plus three offences of common assault, all on police officers, at a plea hearing, in February.

In her impact statement, read to the court, the victim said she could not forget the ordeal, which has left her still feeling anxiety and stress several months later.

Mr Giuliani said the three common assaults took place during Harling’s subsequent arrest.

“It took four police officers to subdue him, three of them suffering minor injuries in the process.”

Rupert Doswell, mitigating, described Harling as, “ordinarily a decent family man.”

But he told the court his client acted “totally out of character” during the events of that night.

His family will also be left on a financial worse footing as a result.

Mr Doswell said Harling was “very drunk” when the assaults took place.

“This was an impulsive act, in drink, which he very much regrets,” added Mr Doswell.

Judge Jonathon Carroll described Harling’s behaviour as, “both disgraceful and outrageous”, targeting a woman alone in her home.

He told him, however, that any remorse he is said to feel is more “self-pity”,

Jailing him for a total of five years, three months and three weeks, Judge Carroll made Harling subject of a ten year restraining order, forbidding him from trying to contact the woman involved.

He must also notify as a sex offender, for life.

Three further sexual assaults denied by Harling, arising from the incident, were, “left to lie on the file”, by the prosecution.