A man who tried to commit a sexual act on a sleeping woman has been jailed after admitting attempted rape.

Taylor Couldwell was visiting the woman’s home in South Devon when he twice tried to have oral sex with her. She woke up on each occasion and was able to stop him.

He was using cannabis and drinking at the time of the incidents and has sought help for his mental health since committing the offences in the summer of 2022.

His sexual assaults had a serious impact on the victim, who was said to have been left in a great deal of distress and mental anguish.

Couldwell, aged 26, of Fore Street, Ivybridge, admitted two counts of attempted rape and was jailed for five years and three months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court. He was put on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The judge told him: “When the victim was in bed asleep, you attempted to put your penis in her mouth. She woke up and pushed you away each time so the offence was not completed.

“If someone is asleep, they are unconscious and they cannot possibly consent to any sexual activity. She was unable to resist and so she was particularly vulnerable. You caused her a great deal of distress and psychological harm.”

Miss Rebecca Wood, defending, said Couldwell has expressed genuine regret and remorse and had broken down in tears while being interviewed by the probation service for a pre-sentence report.

He was suffering at the time he committed these offences and was abusing cannabis and alcohol and trying to cope with his father, who was suffering from depression. He also had mental health issues of his own.

Miss Wood said Couldwell had backed off as soon as the victim woke up and made it clear she was not consenting.