Man admits sex with 14-year-old girl
A Berwick man who had sex with a girl five years younger than him when she was just 14 has been warned he faces a 20-month jail sentence if he breaches his community pay-back order.
Liam Murray was placed on supervision for three years at Jedburgh Sheriff Court and placed on the sex offenders register for a similar period.
He pleaded guilty to having sex with the under-age girl in his car on an unclassified road between Duns and Gavinton in Berwickshire, on February 20, last year.
The offence came to light when the 14-year-old told a member of staff at Berwickshire High School that she was in a sexual relationship with Murray, who was 19 at the time.
Defence lawyer Ross Dow said his client had a lot of time to reflect on how inappropriate his conduct was, and not once had he tried to minimise his behaviour. He added that Murray was now in a relationship with another individual who was in court to support him.
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Sheriff Derrick McIntyre said the offence was over the custodial threshold as he was regarded as a medium risk of re-offending and he knew the girl was 14 years of age and he was five years older.
But he accepted there were mitigating circumstances that he had no previous convictions and he had pleaded guilty to committing the offence on only one occasion.
The sheriff also said that the 14-year-old girl appeared to be a willing participant, although in law she could not consent.
He told Murray, now 20 and living in Berwick, that the community pay-back order was a direct alternative to custody and warned him of the consequences if he breached the order.