A SEX fiend who molested an under-age girl – then moved on to her best friend – has been jailed for nine years.

Ryan Ramsbottom, 32, left his teenage victims feeling depressed and suicidal, Preston Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Amanda Johnson said he approached the first girl in Accrington and asked her whether she liked sex.

Later he texted her and they eventually arranged to meet at a local chip shop, before he took her to a beauty spot.

Ramsbottom told her she was beautiful before involving her in a number of sex acts, the court heard.

Another text was sent, said Ms Johnson, in which he sought to have sex with one of her friends.

The friend saw the message and offered to go and have sex with Ramsbottom instead of the first girl.

She told police that she had had a couple of drinks that night and was not thinking clearly when this did in fact happen.

Ms Johnson said the third incident took place when Ramsbottom went to the first girl’s home.

He took her upstairs and found a pair of purple knickers belonging to her stepmother in a drawer.

He put them around the girl’s neck before having sex with her.

The court heard that he left DNA evidence on the knickers which would later establish his sexual relationship with the girl.

Ramsbottom was arrested after the girls each went to their teachers and reported that they had been sexually abused.

Arrested and interviewed, he denied any sexual misconduct with the friends. But when officers later presented him with the purple knickers, and his DNA link to them, he would not comment.

Ramsbottom, of Oak Close, Rishton, pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual activity with a girl aged under 16.

Judge Philip Parry also ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for life and imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, restricting any future interaction with under-age girls.

Shirlie Duckworth, defending, said that while it was apparent her client had trouble showing much insight into his offending, he had expressed remorse to the author of his pre-sentence report.

She told the court that the offences had effectively ended any relationship he had previously enjoyed with his own children.

His parents had attended court to support their son, even though the couple acknowledged the serious nature of the offences he had admitted to.