A PONTELAND man raped a woman while she slept, a court was told.

Dean Graham (41), of Kirkley Drive, denies rape and assault by penetration and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Prosecutor David Combes told jurors the alleged victim was celebrating her birthday in December 2018 before she decided to return to her friend's flat in Newcastle.

She had been drinking alcohol and had smoked cannabis, the jury was told.

"That, says the prosecution, was of no relevance to the events that you will consider in this case," Mr Combes told the jury.

Her friend lived with her mother and Graham, her mother's partner.

"There were four people in that flat towards the end of the night," said Mr Combes.

He said the alleged victim's friend's mother was the first person to go to bed that night, and was not joined by Graham.

And when the alleged victim began to fall asleep on the sofa in the living room, her friend was in the kitchen, Mr Combes added.

She drifted off to sleep and was woken up when, Graham, who had approached her from behind, sexually assaulted her and then raped her, the prosecutor told the jury.

Mr Combes said the alleged victim "managed to punch him in the face making him stop".

She called her dad, and then 999.

When the police arrived, an officer noticed Graham had an abrasion on his nose, Mr Combes said.

Graham denies the offences.

The trial continues.