A man who had unprotected sex with a schoolgirl he plied with drink and drugs has been handed a two-year sentence.
Stephen Deeds was ordered to serve seven months in jail and the rest on licence.
He booked hotels and B&Bs so that he could have sex with his victim, who at one stage believed she was pregnant and took the morning-after pill.
Deeds (22) contacted the girl through social media in September 2020, after she had just turned 14, and “asked her for dinner”.
After the offences came to light, the schoolgirl said the paedophile “bought her dinner and alcohol every weekend”.
The pair had already had sex multiple times in a guesthouse and hotel before the victim’s mother found out about Deeds.
She demanded that he tell her daughter his true age and told him to stay away.
While Deeds promised he would, he gave his victim a secret mobile phone so that they could keep in contact.
When the girl’s granny discovered the phone, it became clear the defendant and the teenager had been exchanging sexually explicit messages.
Despite knowing her age, Deeds booked a hotel room in early October.
On that occasion, the victim told her parents she was staying with a friend, but she actually met Deeds in the room, where they shared a cannabis joint, snorted cocaine and had sex.
Following that, “he was messaging her in sexually explicit terms that he wanted to have sex with her soon… talking about ‘his mickey’ and saying that they should meet for a date,” a prosecution lawyer told a hearing at Belfast Crown Court.
The girl was taken out of school and her family contacted the PSNI, who arrested the paedophile.
Deeds, from Woodside View in Dunmurry, denied having any form of sexual contact with his victim. He told the police he believed she was 17 and rejected claims he had been told otherwise. However, he later entered guilty pleas to sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual communication with a child, supplying class A cocaine and class B cannabis and meeting a child following sexual grooming
The prosecution argued that Deeds’ offences were aggravated because the victim was so young, that he continued to pursue her despite being told not to and had groomed her by supplying drugs, alcohol and a secret mobile phone.
The court was told the defendant was “remorseful and fully accepts” his wrongdoing.
While the pervert was described as a “vulnerable young man with limited intellect”, the judge said a prison sentence was justified.
Deeds was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
That includes conditions controlling where he is allowed to live, what internet devices he can use and what work he is allowed to do.
He must also disclose his convictions to any new partner.