A CHELMSLEY Wood man who met a 14-year-old girl through Facebook and twice had sex with her, knowing she was under-age, has escaped jail.
Hayden Clarke of Berwicks Lane, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of sexual activity with a child.
The 19-year-old was given a two-year community order, ordered to attend a rehabilitation program, has been electronically-tagged with a curfew for four months, and ordered to register as a sex offender for five years.
Prosecutor Harpreet Sandhu said Clarke had met the girl on Facebook early last year, and they began communicating through that and other social media.
During their chats Clarke, who was 18 at the time but said he was 17, sent explicit messages and images to the girl.
Mr Sandhu said the girl was unclear about how old she said she was, at one point telling the police she had told him she was 14, but then that she said she was in year 11 – making her 15.
Despite that, he travelled to Bedworth to see her, and on a subsequent visit, while her mother was out, they went up to her bedroom.
Later the girl confided in one of her friends about what had happened, and that girl reported what she had been told to their school, which led to the police being informed.
When Clarke was arrested in July, he said the girl had said she was 15, and he denied sending her any sexualised images.
He said they had touched each-other, but made no comment when asked where they had touched.
But he said it was only after the second time that he learned her true age, and Mr Sandhu pointed out that Clarke had entered his guilty pleas on the basis that at the time they had intercourse he believed she was 15.
The court heard that at the time Clarke was subject to a community order, with a curfew which he admitted breaching, for an offence of burglary, and for which he has since been re-sentenced to a 12-week suspended sentence of detention.
Sentencing Clarke, Judge Lockhart told him: “This court sees a lot of young men like you.
“We have all been young men, and we all think we’re invincible at times – but we’re not.
“There comes a time when you have to listen, and listen hard, and that time is now.
“Your life is at a complete crossroads. It could go one way or another. You committed a burglary, and the court passed an order on you which you ignored because you thought you knew best.
“During the course of the order you got involved with a girl who was younger than you, and who you knew was younger.
“She says when you were told she was not 16, you were shocked – but it didn’t stop you. You went to her mother’s home and you had sexual intercourse with her.
“It is about time you listened to people who try to help you.”