A YOUNG mother who started an intimate relationship with a 13-year-old boy has been spared jail by a judge.

Shauni Balderstone, who was then 20, later went on to have sexual intercourse with the youngster at her home in Padiham, Burnley Crown Court was told.

His parents blew the whistle on their fledgling affair when they noticed his school work had begun to suffer, said prosecutors.

And when his mum checked out her son’s mobile phone, she found pictures of him with an older woman, the court heard.

Sexualised Facebook messages and texts had also been shared between the pair, which prompted the boy’s father to call in police.

But Balderstone, of Bowness Road, was given a five-month suspended prison sentence after Judge Jonathan Gibson heard she had a functional IQ of 67 and learning difficulties.

The judge told the defendant, who had her second child earlier this year, she will be subject to a five-year sexual harm prevention order, prohibiting her from contact with boys aged 11 to 15.

Balderstone,who admitted to a charge of sexual acitity with a child, must also undertake 40 days of rehabilitation activities and must sign the sex offenders' register for seven years.

Judge Gibson said: “You knew his age and must bear the responsibility for what happened. You were the adult and he was a young teenager.

“If you had taken the time to think about it you would have know what you were doing was wrong.

The court heard Balderstone insisted the pair only had sex once but he told police they slept together on at least four occasions.

David Bentley, prosecuting, said the pair got together the day before the youngster’s 14th birthday and his parents intervened when their suspicions were aroused on January 2 the next year.

When police first interviewed Balderstone, and was presented with some of the sexual messages exchanged by them, she claimed her Facebook account may have been hacked.

Joanne Rodikis, defending, said her client had a low IQ and was quite immature for her age.

She firmly believed at the time that the two of them were in a relationship, the court heard.

Balderstone had the full support of her partner and both of their sets of parents, added Miss Rodikis.