When news happens send us your pictures, video and views. Text BE to 80360 or contact us by email
Paedophile jailed for four years
A MAN has been jailed for four years for having sex with a schoolgirl and for grooming a second girl over the internet.
Ryan Highfield, of Wyke Road, Weymouth, admitted two charges of sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl and one of arranging to meet a 13-year-old girl following sexual grooming.
Dorchester Crown Court heard that Highfield, 27, had sexual intercourse with the 14-year-old in July last year, knowing she was under age.
The court was told that Highfield was sending messages to a second schoolgirl, a 12-year-old at the time, while he was on bail for the sexual activity charges.
Prosecutor Carolyn Branford-Wood said the grooming offence took place between June 9 and October 31, 2011, with conversations between the defendant and the victim taking place on the social networking site Facebook.
She said: “The Facebook details and computer equipment having been seized; it becomes clear that there was a great deal of chat between the defendant and the young woman, who at the start was six days short of her 13th birthday.”
The court heard the 13-year-old initially told Highfield she was 23, but later claimed she was 14.
Ms Branford-Wood added that the pair made arrangements several times to meet in public, but the defendant had not turned up.
She said: “On October 26 he said ‘you should stay at mine one night if you like. Your mate can stay too’.
“He said he wants ‘lots of hugs’ when they go back to his place.”
In mitigation, Robert Pawson said: “Mr Highfield pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
“The first contact was from her to him. The behaviour was not, as at first might appear, that of a calculated, predatory, sexual paedophile.
“He would have forced nothing, there would only have been kissing or cuddling.”
Judge Roger Jarvis sentenced Highfield to two years and eight months for the first count of sexual activity, and eight months for the second count of sexual activity, to run concurrently.
He sentenced him to one year and four months for the charge of grooming, to run consecutively.
Judge Jarvis said: “You knew what you were doing was quite wrong. While on bail you continued with the grooming of another young child.
“You were already on bail for serious matters and you kept on with these messages.”
Highfield has been placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.