A MAN who had relationships with two Appleby schoolgirls has been sent to prison for three years.

Lithium Shane Simpson, 20, of Westbrook Fields, Kirkby Stephen, was also put on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and banned for five years from having unsupervised contact with any girls under 16 when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.

Simpson, who was 19 when he knew the two 13-year-olds, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with one, and one similar charge involving the second.

Prosecuting counsel Kim Whittlestone said the two girls had met Simpson independently of each other.

The first met him through her then-boyfriend, and got to know him better through the Facebook social networking website.

Even though her mother disapproved of their age difference and tried to warn him off, he went on meeting the girl and had sex with her twice – once in a wood at Kirkby Thore and once at a birthday party.

Teachers alerted the police after rumours spread when she went to the school nurse, fearing she was pregnant, Ms Whittlestone said.

At the same time, Ms Whittlestone said, Simpson had an intimate relationship with the other girl, though they did not actually have sex.

In mitigation defence counsel Alison Whalley said: “The girls were as aware of his age as he was aware of theirs.

"But he knows he should have taken responsibility and should not have committed these offences.”

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Batty QC told Simpson: “I accept that both girls were willing but the law dictates – perfectly rightly in my view – that children ought to be protected even against themselves.

"You took advantage of your age and what you considered to be your streetwise credibility.”

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