Rapist who crept into victims bed while she slept jailed for more than 12 years

An Australian man who crept into the home of a young woman before raping her while she slept will spend the next decade in jail.

Michael Paul Benfell, 26, was found guilty by a jury after he loitered around the home of his victim, before proceeding to enter the house via the backdoor.

He later waited for her to get out of the shower before falling asleep believing she was lying next to her boyfriend.

The victim initially believed it was her boyfriend as he had visited her house, which she shared with two other females just hours before the attack.

At the time of the incident, Benfell was already on parole for a criminal trespass offence.

Judge Paul Slattery revealed the graphic details of the sexual assault to the court before saying that Benfell's "premeditated" actions had "deeply hurt" his victim.

He went on to say: "It's impossible to completely describe the terror, pain, humiliation or effect that followed as a result of your actions.

"Your actions have had profound and lasting effects upon them [the three female residents] and their lives."

Judge Slattery added: "[The victim] spoke of her fear in falling asleep and, returning to her home, she slept with a knife on her bedside table not knowing if you would return to hurt her again.

"Her life became consumed by what you had done to her."

He revealed that Benfell had been on "some sort of a drug bender" and was under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine on the night of the attack.

"Your conduct has had a pervasive effect on them [the victims] and their families and loved ones, all of whom are consequently feeling a rift in one way or another," Judge Slattery told the attacker.

In past court appearances, Mr Benfell had said that he had met his victim at a pub and she had invited him to her home.

The court however heard that she had never spoken to her attacker and didn't recognise him.

Judge Slattery told Benfell: "You had convinced yourself you were innocent and just wanted to get out of jail.

"After reading your apology in court, your counsel submitted that your version of events of what happened that night given in evidence in the trial was concocted, was all untrue, it was a tissue of lies."

He went on to add: "Your presence in the street that night was not some mere chance event.

"You had an intention to enter that home if the opportunity presented itself."

Benfell was charged with two counts of rape, one count of aggravated serious criminal trespass in a place of residence, he was found guilty of both during a trial.

He was eventually sentenced to 15 years and 13 days behind bars, with a non-parole period of 12 years and 11 days.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 0845 30 30 900 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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