Hartlepool man found guilty of underage sex with girl

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A man is facing a prison sentence after he was convicted of having sex with an underage girl.

Wayne Wright claimed he thought the girl was over 16-years-old despite asking her to dress in her school uniform for sex.

In a text message to his 15-year-old victim, Wright, 24, said he would be ‘called all sorts’ if people knew of the age difference between the pair, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The victim consented to sex ‘with some reluctance’, prosecutor Paul Reid told a jury.

“As a girl under 16 years she cannot legally consent to sex,” Mr Reid added. “The prosecution say Wright knew jolly well the age of the victim.

“When he sent the message saying he would be called all sorts if people knew the age difference, we say it is obvious what he meant by that, he knew they should not be having sexual relations.”

Wright, who was 20 at the time of the offences, initially denied all wrongdoing, but changed his story a number of times.

Lisa McCormick, defending, put it to the victim she had only made the complaint to ‘get at’ Wright after he had become involved in a dispute.

The girl conceded she had made the complaint to police shortly after the dispute, but insisted sex had taken place with Wright when she was underage.

Wright, of Inverness Road, Hartlepool, denied five charges of sexual activity of a child, and one charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was convicted of all charges by the jury after a trial lasting two days.

Miss McCormick asked for a probation report before Wright is sentenced.

“He understands it will be custody,” she said. “But a report may help determine the length of the sentence, and help the court assess the level of risk he poses to young girls.”

Judge Howard Crowson ordered the report and remanded Wright in custody to be sentenced on July 10.

He said: “It will be a prison sentence.

“I am particularly interested in what a report can tell me about the level of risk Mr Wright may pose to girls.”