A convicted sex offender shouted ‘I beat the law’ as he left court yesterday just moments after he was spared jail for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Ethan Hewitt, 20, was described as having an ‘extremely low level of general intelligence’ as he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
Earlier this year Hewitt was banned from contacting anyone aged under 16 while an investigation over ‘similar matters’ was carried out in Leicestershire.
But he started a sexual relationship with a schoolgirl in February after contacting her on Facebook – and the unnamed teenager could now be pregnant with his child, the judge heard.
During their illicit romance, which the judge heard the girl’s mother consented to, Hewitt repeatedly had sex with the teenager while her sister slept in the same room.
Hewitt stayed at her home over a four-day period before he was reported to the authorities by a support worker assigned to his case.
Ethan Hewitt (pictured), 20, was described as having an ‘extremely low level of general intelligence’ as he was sentenced by Judge Rachel Smith at Manchester Crown Court
Police later recovered messages indicating the youngster was expecting Hewitt’s baby.
Hewitt, from Aylestone in Leicester, initially faced a charge of rape but his guilty plea to the lesser charge of sexual activity with a child was accepted.
He was given 12 months detention suspended for 18 months after a judge accepted he was of a ‘similar maturity’ to the girl.
Afterwards Hewitt began gloating to friends outside court and was seen grinning as he talked animatedly on his mobile phone. He was overheard saying: ‘I beat the law, I beat the systems and won. I’m not going to prison.’
The judge heard the fling took place in February while Hewitt was under bail conditions which prohibited him from contacting children.
Prosecutor Hugh Barton said: ‘The defendant was under bail conditions at the time, and was prohibited from contacting any children.
‘But a support officer assigned to his case heard the defendant on the phone and she heard two female voices. It seems he was calling this girl who is 15 and her mum.
‘He had been staying with her at her address for the past four days and had slept in the same bed as her over that period of time.’
The girl confirmed she knew the defendant and revealed they met at a Tesco store in Manchester after talking on Facebook.
Afterwards Hewitt (pictured) began gloating to friends outside court and was seen grinning as he talked animatedly on his mobile phone. He was overheard saying: ‘I beat the law, I beat the systems and won. I’m not going to prison’
‘From received text messages it confirms concerns she may be pregnant. In interview, the defendant denied any sexual activity had taken place,’ Mr Barton said.
‘He has had a troubled upbringing and childhood. He is very immature and has a low level of functioning. He is a very young and unhappy man who wants a sense of belonging with a family.
‘There are some aggravating features. The risk of pregnancy and he was on bail at the time where he was subject not to have any contact with children. But it seems he has the functioning of a 15-year-old child.’
In mitigation, defence counsel Colin Buckle said it was ‘at all times consensual activity, although unlawful’.
He added: ‘All offences committed against children are serious but he has no previous convictions or relevant offending.
‘He has extremely low general intelligence and there is a very complex psychological picture. The defendant was staying at her address as he is in desperate need of stability. At this time in the defendant’s young life, he is not at high risk.’
Sentencing Judge Rachel Smith told Hewitt said ‘the prosecutions case is that there was not any force, intimidation or grooming’.
Hewitt (pictured) was also made subject of a four-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to be electronically tagged under the terms of a 10pm to 6am curfew
She added: ‘It was all consensual and therefore the allegation of rape is not pursued. This is not an abuse of trust case.
‘But this occurred in the presence of another child – the younger sibling with which she shared a room and she could hear what was happening. You were on bail at the time not to have unsupervised contact with any children under 16.
‘You are under investigation for similar matters in Leicestershire and those investigations are underway. You have no relevant previous convictions and at all times the activity, whilst unlawful, was consensual. The complainant was nearly 16.’
She said Hewitt had a similar maturity to the victim, was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and has an ‘extremely low level of general intelligence, with an IQ of 67.
‘I consider you to be a young man with complex care and support needs. You are at a low risk of re-conviction for sexual offences and you can be managed in the community. I do not find you to be a dangerous offender,’ Judge Smith said.
Hewitt was also made subject of a four-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was ordered to be electronically tagged under the terms of a 10pm to 6am curfew.