A DUMBARTON man who sexually assaulted a friend while she slept on a sofa in his home has avoided a jail sentence.

Francis Hollern attacked the woman in his Victoria Street home on March 29 last year. He pleaded guilty to the offence in January and returned to Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week for sentencing.

The court previously heard how the 45-year-old initially admitted the assault, then denied it during a police interview and finally was linked to the crime by his DNA.

Fiscal depute Kevin Doherty told the January hearing that the incident happened after “heavy drinking” by Hollern, his victim and others, before the pair made made a short visit to Helensburgh before truning to Hollern’s flat.

Mr Doherty said the pair kissed and engaged in some “sexual contact” before Hollern left to buy more booze.

When he returned, the woman was asleep but awoke to him sexually assaulting her.

“She told the accused to stop and managed to get away from him and get up,” Mr Doherty told the court.

“She was aware her clothing had been unfastened. She was upset regarding the accused’s actions and contacted police to say she might kill herself or someone else.”

When police arrived and arrested Hollern, he said “we were winching”, described the sex act, and added: “At least I’m honest about it.”

But when Hollern was charged, he told police: “It’s a total lie.”

Hollern also told officers he had been the victim of a serious assault in 2011, when he suffered a brain injury.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry placed Hollern under social work supervision for two years and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community by September 2021.

He will be on the sex offenders register for two years.