August 2017

Man had sex with underage girl after talking on Snapchat

A man who had sex with a young schoolgirl after they met through the internet has been spared a custodial sentence.

James Durrant, 19, at the time of the offence but now aged 20, initially got in touch with her in August last year via the smartphone application Snapchat, a judge heard.

The couple also used the video chat application FaceTime to communicate as their relationship blossomed, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Four months later they agreed to meet and the defendant travelled from his home in Cornwall to the West Midlands.

He booked into a hotel in the borough of Dudley on January 12 and had consensual sex with the girl on four occasions over the following four days, revealed Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting.

She told her foster parents that her boyfriend was aged 15 or 16. Police were alerted after the family realised Durrant was older than that when he had tea with the family.

He was arrested in his hotel room soon afterwards and immediately admitted knowing her true age when they had sex. 

Durrant from Trewallard Road, Penzance, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with an under age girl and was given six months detention in a Young Offenders Institution, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to pay £300 costs, made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years and put on the Sex Offender Register for seven years.

Judge Peter Barrie told him: “The responsibility is on the older man in situations such as this. The law is there to protect young girls from themselves.“