A NORTH Cumbrian man secretly used his phone to photograph a naked woman as she was sleeping - and then showed the pictures to a friend as he bragged about what he had done, a court heard.

When confronted about what he had done, 27-year-old Alexander Nicholas Balcombe claimed the woman gave her consent.

But when he appeared at Carlisle’s Rickergate court, the defendant, of Greystoke Park Avenue, Penrith, admitted a voyeurism offence, said to have been committed for 'sexual gratification', and disclosing private sexual photos.

Beth Pilling, prosecuting, said the defendant committed both offences in July last year following an evening spent drinking, which ended with Balcombe going to the woman's home and then sleeping with her.

She then fell asleep.

“The defendant took photos of her naked while she was lying on the bed,” said Ms Pilling. “He kept those photos and she was unaware of them.”

It later emerged that the defendant had bragged about how his evening had ended to a friend.

He showed the man the photos he had taken of the woman.

But that friend recognised the woman and, concerned by what he had seen, disclosed what Balcolmbe had done to her partner. “She was shocked and upset to find out that somebody had naked images of her,” said the lawyer.

She reported what happened to the police.

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Ms Pilling said: “In his first interview, the defendant said that he had taken the images with her consent and that it was her idea.

"He claimed the woman had wanted to make her boyfriend jealous."

He further suggested she was not actually asleep and that he had not fact shown the images to anybody else. When police examined the defendant’s camera, they found two images of the woman in the camera roll.

A further six had been deleted by Balcombe. He admitted the two offences he faced on the day he was due to stand trial.

Ms Pilling outlined how the 11 offences on the defendant’s criminal record included a battery and a sexual assault – an occasion when he indecently grabbed a woman in the A&E Department of The Cumberland Infirmary.

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As a result of that conviction, in March he was put on the Sex Offender Register for five years. The court heard that probation staff believed there was no sexual motive to the earlier offence.

But as a result of the new offences, they would investigate the potential need to require that Balcombe completes certain programmes and rehabilitation.

Defence lawyer Duncan Campbell said it was obvious that a background report was needed.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until May 24. They granted Balcombe bail, with conditions that he must have no contact with the victim and not enter the road in Penrith where she lives. “I don’t need to go near there,” he said.

READ MORE: Man sexually assaulted fellow patient at Cumberland Infirmary