A NORTH WALES businessman aged 38 had sex with a girl aged 16 which, while morally reprehensible, did not constitute an offence because she was of the age of consent, Mold Crown Court was told.

But defendant Darren Flynn was jailed after the police found two indecent images of the girl on his mobile phone.

Flynn, 39 of Trem y Don, Llysfaen, admitted two charges of taking indecent photographs of the girl and was jailed for eight months.

He was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for ten years.

The court heard that there had been a bigger police inquiry but those were the only charges he faced after the deleted phone pictures were

found as part of that inquiry. They dated back to 2017.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said the defendant had consentual sex with the girl which was morally reprehensible but it was not an offence in law. But the taking of indecent photographs of a girl aged 16 plainly was.

It was a matter of public policy, which offered protection to young girls. Photographs taken of them had the potential to fall into the wrong hands and could come back to haunt them years later.

The number of images were small, only two had been taken at the time, but they remained disturbing and serious offences.

They were made more serious by the discrepancy in their ages - he was 38 at the time and she was 16.

Judge Rowlands said that Flynn's pre-sentence report was not particularly helpful and his attitude "left a lot to be desired".

References spoke of a different side of his character, he had pleaded guilty and he was in work, running a profitable business.

He was being dealt with for his behaviour back in August 2017 and he had stayed out of trouble since that time.

It was suggested in court that he was willing to engage with the probation service to address his behaviour, said Judge Rowlands.

But that was in direct contrast to the opinion of a probation officer who interviewed him .

She took the view he was not motivated to co-operate with intervention and felt that he had little grasp of just how serious his behaviour was.

Taking category C images of a child had an 18 month starting point and the sentence could go up to three years, he warned.

Judge Rowlands said that in his judgement the fact that he had little or no insight into just how wrong his behaviour was meant that the degree of contrition was rather less than it would otherwise be.

It was not possible to suspend the inevitable prison sentence, he said. Prosecuting barrister Ryan Rothwell said that police had investigated a complaint of a sexual offence.

During his interview, he admitted meeting up with her knowing her age, engaging on se.ual activity with her and taking two photographs of her in underwear.

He said he met her at a party, he ignored requests asking him to meet her, saying he was not attracted to girls of that age.

But he agreed to meet her, she was intoxicated, she got into the car and performed a sex act upon him and they stayed together for several nights where various sexual acts took place, he said.

In his basis of plea he said that the girl had found some of his ex-girlfriend's underwear, she wanted to try them on and did so, and

that she wanted photographs taken. He facilitated that and had deleted them. The two images were taken on one occasion.

Defending barrister Simon Killeen suggested a suspended sentence or a community order. There had been no commercial exploitation of the young girl and the images had not been distributed.

He was an extremely hard working man, running a successful business and employing a significant number of people who relied upon him.

The defendant met the girl at her request having previously ignored her messages. He had not targeted her or gone after her.

He eventually agreed to meet her and events flowed from that.

"In terms of the sexual conduct that is in no way unlawful," he said.

With hindsight he accepted he clearly made poor judgements.

"Initially he did not answer her calls That is not the age range he usually associates sexually with," said Mr Killeen.

"He then did so. While he didn't make a great impression on the probation officer, he indicates to me that he is motivated if the court

feels that is appropriate to engage with the probation service."

The offence had come to light as part of an investigation started by a third party making a complaint which was not accepted by the young lady involved, said Mr Killeen.

Many of the real worrying features of such cases was absent and he said his client could be punished in the community.