A YOUNG man has been jailed for two years for sexually assaulting a man he met in a Cheshire pub.

Alex Wilding, 23, of Barnhouse Lane, Great Barrow, initially denied attacking the complainant but later changed his plea in the face of “overwhelming forensic evidence”.

Chester Crown Court heard yesterday that both men had drunk an “astonishing” amount of alcohol before the incident took place in the summer.

The victim – a heterosexual man - offered to let Wilding sleep on the couch at the home he shared with his parents.

But in the early hours of the morning he woke to find his underwear removed and Wilding lying in bed behind him, gripping him and performing a sex act.

Simon Mills, prosecuting, told the court: “He immediately took control of the situation and swung a punch at the defendant and began shouting, alerting his mother to the disturbance.

“He was saying 'why are you doing that to me? He's trying to rape me.'”

Wilding, who was covered in blood after being punched in the face, claimed he had come into the bedroom to check on the complainant as he had heard him retching.

He was told to leave, at which point he became angry and threatened to set fire to the victim's family's car.

Police were informed and Wilding was arrested. In his interview he claimed he had done nothing wrong but forensic testing later linked his DNA to sexual activity in the victim's bed.

He again denied any wrongdoing but pleaded guilty to sexual assault on the first day of his trial.

In a victim impact statement, summarised to the court by Mr Mills, the complainant said he felt “emotionally and physically drained” and now distrusted new people he met.

“This has had a substantial and significant impact on him,” Mr Mills said.

Nicholas Walker, defending, stressed Wilding was a man of previous good character with no criminal record and his actions were “completely out of character”.

“The defendant has always struggled to accept the evidence of that night but he is distraught at what he did,” Mr Walker said.

“He says he was thoroughly deserving of the beating he received and is deeply ashamed and deeply embarrassed.

“His family have felt the shame of these proceedings. He wishes he could turn back the clock.”

Sentencing, Judge Patrick Thompson told Wilding he had abused a man who was in an “intoxicated and vulnerable state”.

“You took the opportunity to go upstairs to his bedroom, on what was clearly an excuse that you heard him retching, and you got into his bed and you sexually assaulted him,” the judge said.

“This was a significant sexual assault.”

Wilding will spend half his sentence in prison and half on licence and was made the subject of a restraining order, banning him from contacting the victim for 10 years.

He must also sign on the sex offenders register for a decade.