A 13-YEAR-OLD boy raped a five-year-old girl in his bedroom, a court heard.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the offence at Fareham Youth Court after changing his plea the day before a trial was due to start.
You have admitted a very serious offence but given your age and the circumstances, I am going to make a referral order.District judge Anne Arnold
Magistrates were told that the offence happened in the defendant’s bedroom in August last year when he was 12.
He had been friends with the victim.
A victim impact statement from the girl’s mother was read to the court and said she and her husband had suffered because of what happened to their daughter.
It said: ‘When we first found out about what happened we were both devastated and it felt like someone had torn our hearts out. I didn’t know how we were going to get through this but I kept my daughter close to me at all times.
‘I feel like I have let my daughter down.’
The statement added that she had contemplated taking her own life and both parents had suffered from depression.
Defence lawyer Natalie Dennington said the defendant had learning difficulties and his mental age was that of a child aged seven to nine.
She added he had become more anxious as the trial date got closer and that is why his plea changed to guilty.
‘It was explained to the defendant by social services that if he went ahead with the trial, this case would be in the papers and made public,’ she said.
‘He was told he would be targeted and forced to move home as people would know what he had done. He felt it would have such a devastating effect on his family if he admitted to what he had done.
‘We had lots of tears but he accepted responsibility for his actions.
‘He should be given credit for someone so young accepting full responsibility.’
It was his first criminal offence.
District judge Anne Arnold made a referral order for the maximum of 12 months.
This will see the child work with the Young Offending Team. He will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register.
A spokesman for Hampshire County Council said: ‘Professionals have a duty to ensure that young people and their families are fully aware of the implications of a court appearance and the follow-on impact this may have. We are assured that the family was warned that there could be interest in the case from the media but it was explained that there would likely be court-imposed reporting restrictions that would mean the individual’s name or address would not be made public.’