A NEWPORT man was given a three-and-a-half year detention order after sending “disgusting” messages of a sexual nature to a girl aged under 13.

Lee Edwards, 20, pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child of under 13 to engage in sexual activity at a hearing last month.

Prosecutor Gareth James told Cardiff Crown Court how Edwards initially complimented the girl, who cannot be named, on Facebook, telling her she was “pretty”.

Edwards, of Clytha Crescent, Newport, then told her she could come over to his apartment where they could watch a film, adding he wanted to “kiss and cuddle her”. He added she could be his “secret girlfriend” and even asked her to send naked photos of herself to him. The victim’s mother notified the police after seeing the messages, which were sent over a two to three week period last year when Edwards was aged 19.

In mitigation, Catherine Richards, said Edwards is “immature and struggles to communicate”.

But sentencing Edwards, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC said: “(What you did) was rather disgusting to say the least. When her mother found out, there is no doubt she was horrified.

“Taking into account you have no previous convictions, your behaviour is totally bewildering to those close to you.”

He sentenced Edwards to three-and-a-half years detention and to register as a sex offender indefinitely.