Beds, Herts & Bucks

Peter Rutland jailed over Facebook teenage sex grooming

A paedophile from Bedfordshire who groomed a 14-year-old girl on Facebook turned himself in to police after being confronted by the victim's mother.

Peter Rutland, 31, of Churchill Road, Leighton Buzzard, was jailed for five years after admitting two charges of sexual activity with a child.

The girl's mother had read some of his postings on the social networking site.

Judge Richard Foster, sitting at Luton Crown Court, said a lengthy sentence was the only "proper outcome".

'Rabbit in headlights'

"The law is in place to protect vulnerable children, especially in their formative young teenage years, from conduct such as this," said the judge.

"I accept your genuine remorse but a substantial custodial sentence is the only proper outcome."

Beverley Cripps, prosecuting, said at an earlier hearing that 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," said Miss Cripps.

"She confronted him and he just stared at her like a rabbit caught in the headlights, 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."

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."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites