A 13-YEAR-OLD boy who raped a seven-year-old girl on more than one occasion over a period of four months has been spared a custodial sentence.

The teenager, who is now 15 and cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting sexual activity with a child and two counts of assault by penetration and appeared at Preston Crown Court for sentencing,

The offences all took place in Pendle between December 2017 and April 2018, however, charges were not brought against the youth until September 2019, despite the matters being reported to the police 17 months earlier.

Prosecuting, Karen Brooks told the court: “When the offences came to light the defendant, who turns 16 in November, was challenged by an adult who told him what he did was wrong.

“He told the adult, ‘I know but she enjoyed it’.

“He was taken to the police station and interviewed, as was the victim, who told the police that rape had occurred more than four times and had made her feel sad and worried.

“She told officers she had tried to keep her legs shut as it was painful and on one occasion had elbowed him in the eye.

“When questioned by the police the defendant originally denied penetration.”

The court heard that the teen’s motive for carrying out such depraved acts was as revenge for something an adult had done to him in the past, and he expressed no remorse about his behaviour.

He was taken to a secure children’s home in Cheshire the day after being interviewed but wasn’t charged until September 2019.

Mrs Brooks added: “In the victim impact statement compiled by the child’s mother, she says her daughter, who is now 10 years old, had always had a good routine, but since the incidents came to light, she had begun wetting the bed and calling out in her sleep, to the point where she would not settle unless she knew her mother was close by.

“She had also started counselling sessions which were being continued with the support of her school.

“Her mother said they were trying to live a normal and happy life and move on but the events had had a huge impact on their family.”

Defending barrister Bob Elias said his client was co-operating and benefitting from being in stable accommodation in Cheshire, and that the lack of stability and inconsistent parenting in his young life seems to have been a problem for him.

He said some form of intensive therapy for the boy would be a better course of action for the court to take as opposed to a custodial sentence.

The court also heard how social workers liaising with the teen suggested he needed a bespoke package of intervention, possibly in the form of an intensive supervision and surveillance programme (ISSP).

At the request of judge Simon Newell, the defendant had been assessed by a child psychiatrist over concerns raised about his potential to possess psychopathic tendencies, due to the absence of sexual motivation in terms of the assaults, and worries about him presenting as a danger to the public in the future.

Judge Newell said: “It is very unusual to have this sort of offending without any sexual motive. If someone is prepared to do this in anger or revenge or otherwise, how is that not part of his character and would that not lead to a danger in the future?

“He has used a sexual attack as a means of getting revenge and I have concerns that might happen again.”

However, following a psychiatric report, he was diagnosed with attachment disorder, with doctors agreeing the potential for any psychopathy to be extremely low.

Judge Newell said: “I have to make sure you get the best rehabilitation possible and giving you a custodial sentence would disturb the work that has already been done and set you back considerably and make you a danger to the public.”

The teenager was handed a three-year youth rehabilitation order and ISSP, which he would serve at the secure home in Cheshire, and was made subject to a 12-year sexual harm prevention order and 12-year notification provision.