Trespasser found guilty of raping sleeping woman inside her home

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A man who broke into a home at Parkside in Adelaide’s south and twice raped a woman in her bed has been found guilty.

It took a District Court jury one hour to find Michael Paul Benfell guilty of two counts of rape and one count of aggravated serious criminal trespass.

Benfell, 26, walked into the house through an unlocked back door before getting into bed with the sleeping woman on April 10, 2018.

During the trial, the court heard the room was blacked out, and the victim initially thought it was her boyfriend, because he had been at her house earlier in the night.

“The entire incident was over quickly and the complainant was very confused about who was in her bed,” prosecutor Jemma Litster said.

“She assumed that he was her boyfriend.

The jury was told during the trial that the victim thought her boyfriend had returned and that she was “still very much in the process of waking up at the time” she was attacked.

“It’s the prosecution case that this initial assumption she had about it being her boyfriend in her bed was sequentially moved aside as more and more details arose that were out of place,” Ms Litster told the court.

“The male in her bed had a shaved head. She noticed, also, that the physique of the male in her bed was a bit softer than that of her boyfriend.”

The prosecution told the jury that once the victim realised the man was not known to her, she turned the light on before running to the bedroom of a housemate.

Benfell, who had pleaded not guilty to charges, today shook his head when the guilty verdicts were delivered.

He will return to court for sentencing submissions next month, where a victim impact statement is expected to be read.

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