October 2015

Blackburn man ‘slept with’ underage teen runaway he met on Facebook

A BLACKBURN man who took home a teenage runaway he met on Facebook has been spared jail after the court heard she claimed to be 16.

Cailen Hackett, 19, admitted sexual activity with a child after meeting the 14-year-old who was missing from her family home in Manchester on June 4 last year.

Preston Crown Court heard Hackett, now of Whalley Road, Accrington, exchanged sexual messages with the girl in the weeks before they met up in Blackburn town centre.

However the girl’s Facebook profile listed her date of birth as 1998 – leading Hackett to believe she was 16. On June 4, the girl’s sister accessed the youngster’s Facebook account when the family became concerned she had not come home.

She discovered the messages and contacted Hackett, informing him her sister was only 14 and that the police would be notified. However, Hackett ignored the sister’s warning, telling the girl: “Age is just a number.”

At around 9am the following morning police called at Hackett’s bedsit in Preston New Road and discovered the pair together in the bed.

He was arrested and the girl was questioned, both telling officers they had kissed and cuddled after Hackett received the message warning him of her age.

Recorder Phillip Parry, sentencing, said: “At some time after she came to be with you you came to learn she was 14. Rather than encouraging her to leave or to contact her family, or certainly by refusing to let her stay you did none of these things. Instead you allowed her to stay overnight to sleep with you in the bedsit.”

The judge handed Hackett a two year community order with a 30-day rehabilitation requirement. He also made a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) banning him from having unsupervised contact with any female under 16, except one named family member.