On multiple occasion Deeds bought the girl dinner and gave her a ‘secret mobile phone’
Craigavon Crown Court heard that Stephen Deeds, who was ordered to serve seven months in jail and the rest on licence, booked hotels and B&B’s so that he could have sex with the schoolgirl who at one stage believed she was pregnant and took the morning after pill.
Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret told the court on Friday that Deeds first contacted the girl through social media in September 2020 when she had “just turned 14” and “asked her for dinner,” adding that when the offences came to light, the girl “outlined multiple occasions” when the paedophile “bought her dinner and alcohol every weekend from the beginning of September”.
The pair had already had sex multiple times in a guesthouse and hotel before the girl’s mum found out about Deeds and confronted him to tell him her daughter’s true age and to tell him to stay away.
Although Deeds promised that he would, it transpired that he gave the girl a “secret mobile phone” so that they could keep in contact.
When the girl’s granny discovered the phone on 12 October, it became clear they had been exchanging “sexually explicit messages” and despite knowing that she was 14, Deeds had booked a hotel room on 3 October.
On that occasion, the teenager told her parents she was staying with a friend but instead she met Deeds in the room where they shared a cannabis joint, snorted cocaine and had sex.
Following on from that, “he was messaging her in sexually explicit terms that he wanted to have sex with her soon….taking about ‘his Mickey’ and saying that they should meet for a date,” said Ms Auret.
A meeting was arranged and the victim “got out of the house on the pretext of walking the dog with her brother” and when they met Deeds, he bribed the girl’s brother with a bag of herbal cannabis “to stay a while” but the boy had to go home sick because of it.
When the granny discovered the secret mobile phone, the girl was taken out of school and the family contacted the police who arrested Deeds.
He claimed that while he knew the girl, he denied having any form of sexual contact with her, said he believed she was 17 and denied being told otherwise.
However 22-year-old Deeds, from Woodside View in Dunmurry, later entered guilty pleas to sexual activity with a child involving penetration, two counts of sexual communication with a child, supply of class A cocaine and class B cannabis and meeting a child following sexual grooming.
Ms Auret submitted that Deeds’ offences were aggravated because the victim was so young, there was a “significant age” difference between the two, Deeds had “persisted in his conduct with her” despite the girl’s mother warning him and there had been “significant grooming” where he supplied drugs, alcohol and a secret mobile phone.
Describing Deeds as a “vulnerable young man with limited intellect,” defence counsel Stephen Toal said the defence was “remorseful and fully accepts” his wrong doing.
He suggested that with Deeds passing two drugs tests which Social Services insisted upon, that the judge could defer sentence for a few months to see how the pervert behaved himself but Judge Patrick Lynch QC said it was “perfectly clear” that a prison sentence was justified.
He told Deeds that quite apart the sex offences which were bad enough in themselves the context of him supplying illicit drugs, including class A cocaine, to a 14-year-old he was having sex with “in my view is a serious offence and warrants an immediate custodial sentence”.
In addition, Deeds was ordered to sign the police sex offenders register for ten years and made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Program which includes conditions controlling where Deeds is allowed to live, what internet devices he can use, what work he can do and that he must disclose his convictions to any new partner.