October 2009

Chatroom led to underage sex

A 22-YEAR-OLD has been sentenced for having sex with a 15-year-old he met on a social networking site.

John Douglas, who was 21 at the time, travelled to Nottingham to meet up with the youngster after chatting to her on the Bebo website.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he bought her jewellery and a laptop.

When the teenager failed to go home because she was at a hotel with Douglas, a relative became concerned and sent her a text message asking for her to return.

The defendant, of Hawthorne Avenue, Winkfield, Berkshire, was arrested and charged with having sex with a girl aged 15.

He pleaded guilty.

Judge Dudley Bennett imposed a three-year community order and included a requirement for Douglas to be on the sex offenders’ register for the next five years. The girl talked to the defendant online after moving to the city and then they swapped text messages of a sexual nature. Douglas, who had no previous convictions, drove to Nottingham to meet her and stayed at her home and in the hotel, where they had sex.

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said it must have been clear to Douglas when he first met her that she was very sexually shy and inexperienced. Adrian Langdale, mitigating, said his client was from a caring and loving family and was extremely shy and lacking in confidence.

“He suffered chronic bullying at school. He got NVQs in plumbing and mechanics. Previously he was in a relationship, but that ended abruptly months before he met this girl.

“Maturity-wise he is at a level near that of the girl.”