A MAN who had sex with a 13-year-old girl has been spared an immediate jail sentence.

Scott Hughes, 20, of Delphfield, Runcorn, also sent a series of sexually explicit pictures and messages to three other underage girls.

But at Chester Crown Court on Friday, March 2, the 20-year-old was spared a prison sentence for his offending.

The court heard that he had sex with the 13-year-old girl on two occasions in 2015, when he was aged 17.

Hughes believed his victim, who was described as having a ‘troubled upbringing’, was 15 and sent sexual messages to her on Facebook.

They then had sex in July 2015 in a field in Windmill Hill, and again two weeks later in August of the same year.

On the second occasion, Hughes suggested that the pair go camping and spent the night in a tent in a park in Runcorn.

Later – when aged 19 and on bail for these offences – he sent sexually explicit pictures and messages to girls aged 13 and 14 over Snapchat.

In February 2017, the mum of a 14-year-old girl discovered a number of sexually explicit message from Hughes on her daughter’s phone.

Hughes told another 14-year-old he was aged 16, and sent pictures of his penis to her ‘more than 10 times’.

Between December 2016 and March 2017, he sent sexually explicit images via Snapchat to a girl aged 13 and 14.

The girl had told Hughes she was 11 years old, while he told her that he was 14.

One picture was sent with the message: “That’s your birthday present – you can meet me later to get it in person.”

Hughes, who had no previous convictions, was arrested but ‘denied he’d done anything wrong’.

A statement from one of Hughes’ victim’s that was read out in court said that she ‘felt angry for what he had done to her’ and left her not wanting to leave her house.

Hughes – who had no previous convictions – admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two charges of causing a child to watch a sexual act.

But his honour judge Simon Berkson spared Hughes an immediate prison sentence on Friday, and instead suspended a 15-month spell jail term for two years.

Sentencing, judge Berkson said: “You are now 20 years of age, but when you were 17 you took advantage of a vulnerable girl aged 13.

“On two specific occasions, you had sex with her – these are serious offences and you were told they were serious.

“Nevertheless, you continued in your pursuit of girls under the age of 16.

“This is not an easy case – you are a person of good character who now holds down a job, you are in a relationship and you have a loving and caring family.”

“If you had been a few months older when you had sex with this girl the starting point would have been five years in prison, but instead the maximum sentence is five years.”

Hughes was also subjected to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years and an indefinite notification requirement.

He was also ordered to serve a curfew from 7pm to 7am and undergo a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 35 days.