May 2009

Widnes man, aged 20, who had sex with a 13-year-old girl escapes jail

A MAN who had sex with a 13-year-old girl, believing she was aged around 15, has escaped a prison sentence.

Twenty-year-old Christopher Walsh had sex with the girl some time during June or July last year while they were both drunk, Warrington Crown Court heard on Monday.

He had believed she was aged 15 or 16 and only found out later on, when the girl discovered she was pregnant, that she was in fact only 13.

The girl, now aged 14, has recently given birth to a baby, but it is not known whether Walsh is the father.

She was six months pregnant when she made the complaint against Walsh, who pleaded guilty to having sex with a child under 16 in April.

He had only had sex with her once, he said, and it had been consensual.

When Walsh, of Henderson Road, Widnes, pleaded guilty, Judge Thomas Teague had told him a non-custodial sentence was probable.

On Monday, Judge Stephen Clarke said that the starting point after a trial would have been four years in jail, but that he was bound by what Judge Teague had said.

“This was an isolated act of intercourse between two willing parties, neither of whom had taken any protection,” he said.

“The only problem is that you’re 20 and the girl in question was 13.

“The sad fact is that it is not much of a start in life for a child with a 14-year-old mother.”

He sentenced Walsh to a 12-month supervision order and ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

He did not, however, disqualify him from working with children.

“I hope that you have learned a very serious lesson and clearly in future you will not involve yourself with sexual activity with anybody you don’t know the age of,” said Judge Clarke.