A TEENAGER who raped a 12-year-old girl following a boozy get together last summer has been jailed for 16 months.

James Lee, 19, had been drinking with the child, a friend of a 15-year-old girl he knew, and claimed he believed she was 16 years old.

But because the girl was under the age of 13 it is impossible in law for her to consent to having sexual activity – making him guilty of rape.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that the victim was pals with a 15-year-old who was also friends with Lee.

He said the defendant called the older girl on Sunday, June 30 last year suggesting they meet for the afternoon, which they did.

The 12-year-old went with her older friend and met Lee and some others at an address in Toothill, where they drank alcohol.

They then moved to the defendant’s home and while there the girl went to the bedroom with Lee where the sexual activity took place.

Mr Meeke said: “At first she said she thought he would have thought she was 15, a comparable age to her friend. He later found that she was 12.

“The evidence is not sufficiently robust to challenge his suggestion in the basis of plea that he thought she was 16. It was based on the other girl being 15, though how he got to her being 16 is not sure.”

When the 12-year-old didn’t arrive home that night he said she was reported missing to the police and when she returned she told her sister what had happened.

The older girl confronted Lee about what had taken place and he told her nothing happened and he refused to answer questions from the police.

But when they looked at his mobile phone they found a message reading “Why do girls lie about their age?”

Lee, of Jennings Street, Rodbourne, pleaded guilty to a charge of rape of a child under the age of 13.

Rob Ross, defending, said the girl was clearly sexualised at a young age, which was a concern, and was a willing participant in what went on and that to put him in custody was unnecessary as he had “very much learned his lesson”.

Jailing him Judge Douglas Field said: “She was sexualised beyond her years. I have read the material that has been put in this case.

“There was no physical force applied to her, no threats or intimidation and I am satisfied that the sexual activity that occurred was not against her will.

“It is all very well to say that this young girl behaved older than she was and she was sexualised beyond her biological age of 12, but the law is there to protect girls of this age.”

As well as jailing him he also said he would have to register as a sex offender for 10 years.