A man has been given a community order for committing an act of gross indecency on a child more than 30 years ago, when he was a child himself.

Stephen Lawrence, 46, was 14 at the time of the offence which happened in Colne back in 1992.

The victim, in evidence read to the court by prosecutor Paul Cummings, said she was around 11 or 12 at the time of the incident.

Lawrence accepted he had sexual intercourse with the victim, during what he described as an “extremely difficult” time for him and his family, and this had a “significant impact” on him.

He added there was “no coercion or exploitation involved” and “I’ve always felt extremely remorseful about what occurred, and I am deeply regretful about this incident.”

Mr Cummings said the victim made a recorded interview on January 10, 2022, where she set out details of what happened.

The victim said she did not disclose what had happened at the time but when she was an adult disclosed it to her church.

However, she did not feel she got the support she needed and was made to feel like she was responsible for what had happened.

She then disclosed what happened to a counsellor at the end of 2021, and to the police in early 2022.

Lawrence was interviewed on January 20, 2022, and gave a no comment interview.

Sentencing, Judge Phillip Parry said: “It’s time to finally bring these proceedings to an end.

"I know you have lived with what you did for many decades, and over the last two years with the prospect of going to prison for what you have done.

“You are 46 now and I have to sentence you for indecency back in 1992.

“It was all orchestrated by you, but no doubt driven by curiosity, the strange and odd feelings you were experiencing at the time.

“You were a very immature 14-year-old. It was over very quick.

“You were originally charged with rape, but on further analysis it was found that was an inappropriate allegation and you were recharged in October 2023.

“It took a long time to get here but I hope these proceedings have allowed her to draw a line under things.”

Lawrence, of Lynwood Avenue, Clayton-le-Moors, had no previous convictions.

He was given a 12-month community order, 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and 100 hours unpaid work. He will be subject to notification requirements for five years.