A PERVERT is today beginning a four-year jail sentence after getting a schoolgirl he met on Facebook pregnant.
Wayne Thompson, 22, had unprotected sex with the under-age girl more than 30 times after he befriended her through the social networking website.
Teesside Crown Court heard how Thompson continued sleeping with the girl, even after police told him her age and warned him off.
Police say the case highlights the risks around young people and social network sites, and urged all parents to teach young people to take care when using the internet.
The victim’s mother became worried when her daughter started going missing after her birthday.
Thomspon was warned to stay away from her by police after the pair were seen together in Seaton Carew.
But Thompson continued meeting her and she eventually fell pregnant.
Her family intervened and called police.
Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said: “He told police he had numerous girlfriends, the latest was the complainant who he met on Facebook.
“After a few weeks of talking they began a sexual relationship which was consensual.
“He said he had unprotected sex with her over 30 times and he knew her age but continued to have sex with her.”
Thompson, of Wolviston Back Lane, Billingham, admitted sexual activity with a child.
He was jailed for four and a half years and will be put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Joseph Spencer, mitigating, said, the victim claimed to be 20 on her Facebook account and she told him she was 16 when they met.
Mr Spencer said: “He started having a sexual relationship before he was aware of her real age.
“There was a break after he was told, however, they got back together due to the feelings they had for each other.
“He now acknowledges he needs to engage in some further work to reduce the risk of reoffending.”
Judge Michael Taylor said: “I accept it was consensual, but this statute is here to protect young children from predatory activity of adults.
“You have not been in trouble before, you have got a good work record and friends and family speak highly of you.
“On the other side of the coin, this is sexual activity which went on over a prolonged period of time.
“You were specifically warned off by the police and told her age. Not withstanding that, you continued this sexual relationship.”
Detective Sergeant Joanne Wright, of Hartlepool CID, said: “This case once again highlights the dangers which young people can be exposed to when using social networking sites.
“I would urge parents to remind their children to remember that people they interact with online may not be all they first appear.
“We welcome the sentence passed today and can at least take this opportunity to remind all young internet users and their parents and carers to take steps to protect themselves while online and if meeting people they befriend there.”