Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 14:02 UK

Jail for paedophile 'schoolboy'

James Chester (pic: Hampshire police)
James Chester tried to enrol at two schools in Portsmouth

A man who masqueraded as a schoolboy and abducted a young teenage girl has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

James Chester, 22, struck up a relationship with a 13-year-old girl after pretending to be a Year 10 pupil.

The victim's family believed Chester was a schoolboy, but the pair went missing and were found two days later in Northern Ireland.

Chester, formerly of Garnier Street, Portsmouth, admitted abduction and sexual activity with a girl.

At Portsmouth Crown Court on Tuesday, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years, to include the eight months he has spent in custody.

Earlier it was revealed that in September 2005, Chester - then aged 19 - used a fake birth certificate and a letter of support to become a pupil at St Edmund's Catholic School in Portsmouth.

He posed as a year 10 pupil for three weeks before staff became suspicious and he was reported to the police, but not charged.

A year later, Chester tried to join the City of Portsmouth Boys' School but background checks meant he was rejected.

Not only did you deceive her, you also deceived her parents whose job it is to protect her
Judge Graham White

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was not a pupil at either school.

Chester was charged after he and the teenager were discovered two days after going missing in August last year.

In court, Chester was described as having a personality disorder and was delusional after a violent childhood.

Mary Johnson, prosecuting, said Chester gave the girl a ring and she told police she thought they would marry.

"She said if she had known his true age she would not have got into the relationship," said Ms Johnson.

Jennifer Knight, mitigating, said that Chester was a disturbed, confused and unhappy man who wanted to be 16 after being taken into care from his father.

She said that Chester had not coerced the girl or used violence to have sex with her.

School uniform ban

Sentencing Chester, Judge Graham White said: "These were very serious offences.

"There was an element of deceit and subterfuge because you told her you were 16 or 17. It's clear she would not have entered into a sexual relationship with you had she known the truth.

"Not only did you deceive her, you also deceived her parents whose job it is to protect her."

Judge White said Chester was not mentally ill but he had a personality disorder and would receive treatment.

He banned Chester from going within 50 metres (54 yards) of secondary schools, playgrounds or children's events, wearing schools uniforms or trying to enrol in schools.

Chester was also banned from working with children and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.


SEE ALSO
Man charged over girl's abduction
28 Aug 07 |  Hampshire

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