A JUDGE said a 64-year-old man must have suffered “a moment of sheer madness” when he massaged a sleeping friend’s leg.

Richard Salenius had been drinking with a married couple at their home on June 19 last year.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the trio had been friends for around two years after meeting in a pub.

After the husband went to bed for “a power nap to sleep off the alcohol”, Salenius remained downstairs with his wife.

The court heard he approached the woman while she lay asleep and drunk on a sofa, before “massaging and touching her leg”.

The woman had no recollection of this, but Salenius was caught in the act on the home’s CCTV system.

When he awoke, the husband was able to watch a live feed on his mobile phone, showing Salenius “bending over his wife and touching her”.

The matter was reported to the police and Salenius told officers while he could not remember what happened that evening, he was “terribly sorry”.

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He had denied sexual assault and the judge directed he be found not guilty of that charge after he admitted assault by beating.

Daniel Taylor, mitigating, said: “He is 64 years of age and is a man who has lived a life of impeccable character.

“Not only is he someone who has not been in trouble with the police before, he is someone who is actively involved in the local community.”

Mr Taylor said the case had hung over his client’s head for 18 months.

He added: “He is a man who was always willing to recognise he had touched the complainant without her express consent, but that is not the position the Crown has been able to accept until today.”

Judge David Pugh said: “When [her husband] decided to go and have a sleep, you and [the victim] continued to drink and then, in a moment which you must now look upon as a moment of sheer madness, when she was asleep on a sofa you decided to in effect give her a massage to her leg.

“By the acceptance of the Crown of your plea to count two, that was not in any way sexual.”

Salenius, of Queen Street, Brightlingsea, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the victim.

He was hit with a three-year restraining order banning contact with the victim.

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