TWO men who engaged in sexual activity with two underage girls have been jailed for two years.
Ross Portsmouth from Long Street in Williton and Steven Lafferty who now lives in Kings Way, Gloucester, were handed the sentence at Taunton Crown Court last Thursday (June 26).
The court heard how 21-year-old Lafferty struck up a friendship with a girl aged 14 in the autumn of 2012 when he was 19.
Texts and Facebook messages were exchanged between the two, with Lafferty commenting on the girl's appearance and asking for intimate photos of her.
Prosecuting, Robert Duvall said: “He spoke of taking her virginity and of playing sexual dares.”
Lafferty then contacted the girl's then-13-year-old friend on Facebook, and suggested a threesome with the two girls.
The court heard how one night in late 2012, the two girls told their parents they were going to stay at a friend's house.
But, said Mr Duvall: “Instead they went to the flat of Ross, and were later joined by Steven.
“There was lager and a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of cola for them all to drink and they played sexual dares."
The court then heard how Lafferty engaged in sexual activity and intercourse with the 14-year-old.
Portsmouth engaged in sexual activity with both girls, including intercourse.
Defending Lafferty, Anjali Gohil said: “This was a period of immense stupidity and immaturity.
“He made a very stupid mistake and he regrets what he did.
“He has moved away from the area, he has a job, and he has never been in trouble since.
“He has always had the support of his family however he was under pressure from his father to not plead guilty at the risk of ruining his career.”
Defending Portsmouth, Sarah Hornblower said: “If Lafferty is described as being immature at the time, it is fair to say the same of Ross.
“He was living a chaotic life; was using cannabis and drinking an excess amount of alcohol.
“His relationship with his girlfriend was ending. “He is extremely remorseful for what he has done.
“He told the police he felt physically sick at what he had done and said he had disgraced himself.
“He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“He has turned his life around and has shown extreme maturity in finding ways to keep his job should he have to attend probation meetings.”
Sentencing, Recorder Burgess said: “There is no doubt that you both knew the girls were under age at the time.
“You have both left lasting impacting on these girls, their relationships with their families have broken down and they suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
“Lafferty, your actions caused one of the victims to act deceitful.
“You engaged in sexual messaging which included suggestions of threesomes and sexual relationships with both girls.
“I give you some credit for entering a guilty plea so the girls did not have to give evidence.
“Portsmouth, I give you full credit for entering you plea at the earliest opportunity and for your extreme remorse.
“But you engaged in sexual intercourse with both girls.”
Both men were jailed for two years and were given a sexual offences prevention order for ten years and put on the sex offenders register for ten years.