A PAEDOPHILE who had a sexual relationship with a boy he met on Facebook has been jailed.
Steven Shaw, 39, met up with the teenager – who was more than 20 years his junior – after they got in touch via the social networking website.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Shaw bought the boy a present and there was an element of ‘almost grooming’.
The court heard the boy described himself as being 24 years old on his profile.
By their second meeting, Shaw realised the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was under 16. Now Shaw, from Deverell Place, Waterlooville, has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail after admitting four counts of sexual activity with a child in 2012.
The court heard in Shaw’s defence that the relationship was consensual and the case against him had come about from what he had told police.
Stephen Smyth, defending, said Shaw had apologised ‘for everything’.
Mr Smyth said: ‘The boy put himself on the website saying that he was 24 and looking for older men.
‘The crown accepted that.’
The court also heard Shaw, who has been in a relationship for about 14 years, is ‘very vulnerable,’ seems much younger than his 39 years and suffers from a dependent personality disorder.
Mr Smyth added: ‘Life has given him a particularly bad hand in my submission and that reduces his culpability.’
Addressing Shaw, judge Roger Hetherington, sentencing, said: ‘There was an element of planning and almost grooming here in the sense that you provided alcohol for him and you provided at any rate one present for him at his request and you realised that he was vulnerable.’
Judge Hetherington added: ‘I accept on your part that you made an immediate and full confession which you volunteered to the police and that you regret what has happened, although it has been noted in the pre-sentence report that the author thinks you do minimise your responsibility.
‘I accept that you yourself were dealt a very difficult start in life.’
Shaw, who has no previous convictions, was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.
He was given a Sex Offences Prevention Order, which will last until any further order is made.
HELP TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DANGER
THE Child Exploitation and Online Protections Agency works to identify the main threats to children.
Its work includes fine-tuning guidelines to minimise the chances of technology increasing the risk of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse to children.
To report suspicious behaviour online with or towards a child, visit ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
To report illegal online content, visit iwf.org.uk