Man jailed for 5-years for Facebook grooming - Bedfordshire

26/03/2012

A man who had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl he had groomed through Facebook has been jailed for five years.

When Peter Rutland was confronted by the girl's mother, who had read some of his postings, he immediately handed himself in to police.

Rutland, 31,  from Churchill Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to two charges of sexual activity with a child, and asked for two similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Judge Richard Foster told him on Friday: "The law is in place to protect vulnerable children, especially in their formative young teenage years, from conduct such as this. I accept your genuine remorse but a substantial custodial sentence is the only proper outcome."

Beverley Cripps, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "n October last year the girl's mother was told her daughter had been upset at school."

"The following day she looked at her daughter's Facebook and read messages suggesting that she and the defendant were girlfriend and boyfriend. She confronted him and he just stared at her like a rabbit caught in the head lights, then said he would take himself to the police station, which is what he did. He told police he had been seeing a 14-year-old girl and had had sexual intercourse with her about four times over a six week period," said Miss Cripps.

Paul Addison, defending said: "He has accepted that what he did was very wrong and it should never have happened. At the time he was not thinking of the consequences. He is aware that it is not just the victim he has hurt but her family and his family too. He wants everyone to know he is seriously apologetic. I would ask for him to be given a lot of credit for handing himself in."

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