AN 'OPPORTUNISTIC' pervert who inappropriately touched a woman without consent while she slept next to him on a bed, has been jailed.

Richard Major-Smith was sentenced at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

The assault was witnessed by a male friend, who had also been asleep on the same bed.

The incident happened on the morning of August 3 and the court had heard that the night before, the victim, the defendant, the male witness and a female friend had been out drinking together.

They then returned to the victim's Blackburn home where they continued drinking and chatting on the bed.

When the victim fell asleep 28-year-old Major-Smith assaulted her by touching her private parts and lifting up her top before touching her breasts.

When the male witness later informed the victim as to what had happened, the court heard that she began to cry and felt violated.

Major-Smith, of Earl Street, Colne, had surrendered himself to the police before the offence had been reported to them and at a previous hearing, the court heard that the defendant was "deeply ashamed and remorseful and wanted to tell the truth about what had happened."

Defending, Philip Holden asked Judge Andrew Jefferies QC for leniency in light of his remorse, and to consider suspending any custodial sentence he may wish to pass.

Presiding over the case, Judge Jefferies said: "I have looked at the facts of this case and have considered whether to suspend the sentence.

"I have also looked at possibility of rehabilitation but believe that this is not something you would benefit from.

"My judgement with this case is that you took an opportunity to touch a vulnerable woman when she slept next to you and the only appropriate punishment is one of custody."

Major-Smith was jailed for eight months and was given a restraining order, meaning he cannot contact his victim for two years.