An RAF serviceman who claimed he was sleepwalking when he had sex with a 15-year-old girl was cleared of rape.

Kenneth Ecott, 26, broke down in tears after the jury at Bournemouth Crown Court acquitted him yesterday.

The teenager said she woke to find Mr Ecott naked on top of her and started screaming in the early hours of November 19 last year.

The Senior Aircraftman said he had gone to sleep following a party and woke to find himself naked, outside and with no memory of intercourse with the girl.

He had been celebrating a birthday with friends in Poole, Dorset.

The group carried on the party at a friend's house where Mr Ecott shared a bottle of vodka, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

He then went to sleep with others, including the 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named, on inflatable mattresses in the dining room.

The next thing he remembered was waking up outside, naked, and he went back into the house where he allegedly admitted having sex with her to other party-goers.

It was also claimed that Mr Ecott apologised to the girl's family for having sex with her saying he did not mean to.

He was arrested at RAF Brize Norton in West Oxfordshire later that day and told Poole police officers he had been sleepwalking.

He never disputed that penetration took place but said he was not aware of his actions as he had been in a state of automatism.

Mr Ecott denied one count of rape and the jury of seven men and five women yesterday took two hours to clear him of the charge.