A former Cambridgeshire fireman has been jailed for 20 months after having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Lee Wigmore, 26, of Hunters Way, in Sawtry, pleaded guilty at Huntingdon Crown Court to four charges of sexual activity with the girl – who was 15 at the time.
The court heard last Tuesday (March 15) that the pair had met after the girl had befriended Wigmore on Facebook and they had begun exchanging messages before meeting on June 10.
Caroline Allison, prosecuting, said: “The girl and the defendant met in Sawtry village where they talked and spent several hours together and there was limited sexual activity at the time.”
The pair then met up again the following day (June 11) when he picked her up and took her to a lay-by in Alconbury where they each performed a sexual act on each other.
Judge Jonathan Cooper was told that after the meeting on June 11, the pair continued messaging each other to organise an evening at Wigmore’s house on June 21.
During this evening the pair engaged in sexual intercourse and again the following day.
Throughout the time that the pair were exchanging messages Judge Jonathan Cooper was told that the interaction was “explicit” but it was evident that the pair were planning a future together.
Wigmore’s offences against the teenager only came to light when the girl mentioned to a relative that she had been in a relationship with a man 10 years her senior.
Police were alerted and arrested Wigmore on June 25. He denied that he knew that the girl was 15, instead insisting that he thought she was 16 and in later interviews stated that he thought she was 17 or 18.
Mrs Allison said: “The defendant was aware that the girl was 15 following early discussions between them and certainly aware of that before they met in person.”
At sentencing, Wigmore was given a concurrent sentence of 20 months for the four offences.
In mitigation, Samantha Marsh said: “Mr Wigmore is very regretful and remorseful about what he has done. Although there was 10 years age difference between the defendant and the girl it is clear that Mr Wigmore is a lot younger than his years.
“He had strong feelings to this girl and never wished to cause her any harm. She added him on Facebook and he was drawn to her as they had a number of things in common. He accepts that they should have waited until she was 16.
“He is going to pay a very high price for being a very foolish young man and will have to think about the consequences of his behaviour.”
Judge Cooper said: “You have taken responsibility for your actions. It is your behaviour that has affected your victim and I don’t think you have fully acknowledged that harm that has been caused.”
Wigmore has also been ordered to undertake a sexual harm prevention programme and was told that he would not be allowed to work with or be in the company of anyone under the age of 18 without approved supervision for 10 years.
He was also told that he could not contact his victim or her family.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue confirmed that Wigmore “used to be” an on-call firefighter with the service.