Sex predator facing jail sentence

The man appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court.
The man appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court.

A paedophile predator groomed under-age schoolgirls on Facebook before meeting them for sex, a court heard.

Dylan Bennett raped a 12-year-old and had unprotected sex with a 14-year-old, who became pregnant by him and later had his child.

A jury cleared him of forcibly raping a 13-year-old girl, but took just half an hour to return a majority verdict finding him guilty of having unlawful sex with her.

Bennett (22) from Linlithgow, was placed on the Sex Offenders Register and is now facing a prison sentence estimated at between five and seven years. He will be sentenced by trial judge Lord Woolman on January 26, 2017.

Bennett pled guilty to statutory rape, having sex with an older child and further sexual offences, including intentionally sending sexual messages to the girls and sending one of them a picture of his genitalia.

He also admitted intentionally meeting an under-age girl to engage in unlawful sexual activity with her, knowing that she was under 16.

The High Court in Livingston heard distressing evidence from all three of the predator’s victims about how he hung about with younger children and befriended them through their classmates.

He had sex with the 12-year-old at a house in Linlithgow’s High Street, but arranged to take the other two schoolgirls to woods in Livingston and Uphall for sex sessions.

Giving evidence in his own defence Bennett said he didn’t realise that his sexual behaviour with under-age girls was illegal.

He claimed it was only after he’d been pulled up by the police about his relationships that he accepted it had been “the wrong thing to do”.

He said he had “no doubt” that the 13-year-old had consented to intercourse with him after they exchanged raunchy messages on social media.

He said she appeared to be happy after their Facebook date on May 7, 2015 and told him she was “glad” that she’d lost her virginity to him.

The girl, however, gave evidence that she was “scared “ of him because of his height and claimed he’d forced himself on her.

Bennett, who has been on remand since January 2016, was described in court as a “tragic” character who watched his mother die in front of him when he was 10-years-old.

He was rejected by his alcoholic father and brought up by a sister who is just a few years older then he is.