A WOMAN from Newport who entered into a relationship with a 12-year-old boy has avoided jail, and instead was handed a five-year restraining order.
Caitlin Gerrans, 19, of Clifton Place, pleaded guilty to two counts of abducting a child.
Cardiff Crown Court heard how Gerrans, aged 18 at the time, met the boy, who was 12 at the time and cannot be named, in August last year and the pair began exchanging messages on social media.
The relationship was not a sexual one, said prosecutor Claire Pickthall, although there was some “physical touching in terms of kissing.”
The child’s parents noticed he would come home “drunk or stoned” after spending time with the defendant, said Ms Pickthall, and they were “understandably concerned with the age group.”
In September last year, the victim came home with Gerrans, “collected a bag and a blanket and left,” said Ms Pickthall.
Later that month, Gerrans was arrested, and confirmed she knew the child was only 12 years old. She was served with a Child Abduction Warning Notice, which she signed and agreed to break off contact with the child.
However, she continued to contact the victim, and they met up again on October 23.
After she was arrested, Gerrans told police she had bought the boy a new phone as his had been taken by police. When asked why she continued to contact the boy, Gerrans said she didn’t know.
On December 20, the boy’s mother said he told her he was going out with friends, Ms Pickthall told the court. She phoned him “about 20 times,” and found out he was with the defendant at a Travelodge in Newport, where Gerrans was living at the time.
“She continued to contact him until June 20 this year, when he stopped replying to her messages,” said Ms Pickthall.
“It was clear the relationship was not having a good effect on him mentally,” she added.
In mitigation, Harry Baker said the defendant had been of previous good character and was “very vulnerable herself.”
“You had a very troubled childhood,” said Recorder Christopher Vosper QC in his conclusion. “You were subject to abuse in your home. Your parents separated. You began at a very young age to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis and engage in sexual behaviour.
“You had no settled home in this period.
“You had a young boy when you were very young who has been cared for by your mother, and you do have some contact with him.
“You are a vulnerable young woman who has experienced significant emotional trauma which you have not processed.”
Gerrans was sentenced to a 12-month community order, and must complete rehabilitation activity requirement for up to 20 days.
She was also made the subject of a five-year restraining order, preventing any direct or indirect contact with the boy.
Gerrans must pay a victim surcharge of £90.