A YOUNG St Helens man who used Facebook to groom under-age girls to have sex with him and got one of them pregnant was put behind bars for five years today.

A judge ruled that Stephen Sumner poses a significant risk of serious harm to the public and imposed an extended licence of two years.

He told 21-year-old Sumner, from Holbrook Close, in Sutton, that he reached that conclusion despite his young age and lack of previous convictions.

 Sumner had been convicted after a trial of seven charges involving sexual grooming and sexual activity with three young girls.

He had also pleaded guilty to three charges of inciting another under-age girl to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Denis Watson, QC, said that Sumner had sex with his first vulnerable victim at his flat when he knew was only 14.

The girl, who was in care living with her grandparents, was flattered by the attentions of an older man.

Judge Watson said: "It was not a loving relationship, it was a relationship characterised by sexual convenience for you and was an abusive relationship.

"She became pregnant and when she became pregnant it is no co-incidence that your relationship came to and end.

"She had to have a termination of that pregnancy ten days before her 15th birthday.

Sumner was spoken to by police about the situation but continued his course of conduct and had already moved on to another under-age girl.

They had sexual activity but as she was more street wise and not in awe of him he did not progress matters, the court heard.

He groomed another 15-year-old on the internet and persuaded her to expose herself on camera for him and also turned his attentions to a vulnerable 14-year-old who became infatuated with him, said Judge Watson.

She absconded from home and police found her naked at this flat but she was disruptive and claimed nothing had been going on.

However, the court heard that about six weeks later in June last year she gave them a statement.

In this she said that after a pillow fight they had sexual intercourse. After she returned home he sent her a message saying "that never happened".

In a victim impact statement she said that she had been left feeling unhappy and depressed. She also felt scared and is no longer so trusting.

David Potter, prosecuting, said that Sumner carried out his indecent activities over a two and a half year period and the major of the incidents happened in the bedroom of his flat.

Judge Watson ordered Sumner to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 14 years restricting his internet use and unsupervised contact with children.

Eric Lamb, defending, said that Sumner had problems in his upbringing and perceived he was helping the victims who were in similar circumstances.