November 2011

Man started affair with youth of 14

A MAN who started an internet affair with a boy he thought was 16 continued seeing him even when he learned he was only 14.

Davrian Smythe, from Barnstaple, aged 20, and the boy exchanged 178 pages of Facebook messages in less than four months and started meeting regularly for sex.

Exeter Crown Court was told the boy told Smythe he was 16 when they first made contact on a gay website.

But he admitted his true age once they met and Smythe saw how young he was.

The friendship came to light when the boy ran away from home after a row.

His parents checked his Facebook page and found scores of messages.

Smythe, of Walnut Way, Barnstaple, admitted five offences of sexual activity with a child.

He was ordered to go on a sex offenders’ programme as part of a three year supervision order.

He also made an order preventing him from having unsupervised contact with children for five years.

Recorder Andrew Langdon spared him jail after being told he had been naive and had encouraged the boy to seek relationships with those closer to his own age.

David Gittins, for the prosecution, said the police inquiry began in July when the boy was reported missing by his parents after an argument in which he had told them he was gay.

Mr Gittins said: “He was found by police the next day but in the meantime his parents had looked at his Facebook account and realised there were numerous messages to and from this defendant.

“They amounted to 178 pages and it was clear that the boy was a very willing partner and had been in the relationship for some time and there had been sexual activity.”

Nigel Wraith, for the defence said the case was not like a 40-year-old seeking a child for sex because Smythe at 20 is naive and young for his age and the boy had initiated the sexual activity.

He said:”This is not a typical case. It was not a predatory older man going out to find a child. It may be their mental and emotional ages are not that far apart. He appears to have been the more sexually naive of the two.”