A PONTELAND man has been jailed for raping and sexually assaulting a woman.

The victim had been celebrating her birthday before she decided to return to her friend's house in Newcastle, a court heard.

She fell asleep on a sofa in the living room, and was woken up when Dean Graham, who had approached her from behind, sexually assaulted her and then raped her.

Prosecutor David Comb said: "Mr Graham took advantage of the situation in which he found himself in for his own sexual gratification."

The victim punched Graham in the face, making him stop, when she woke up and realised what was happening to her, the court was told.

Graham (42), of Kirkley Drive, had denied rape and sexual assault but was convicted by a jury in May after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Mr Recorder Tony Hawks sentenced Graham to six years and 10 months in jail.

Graham had previous convictions, but none for sexual offences, the court heard.