A BRAMLEY man has escaped a jail sentence after he groomed a girl and then sexually abused her.

Shane Kieron Illsley sent "suggestive" messages to the girl and then told her to delete them, saying that if anyone found out he could go to prison.

He then sexually abused her twice, and persisted when she told him to stop. On the second occasion, the court heard, the victim did not ask him to stop as she knew that he would not listen.

The girl was left feeling "ashamed and embarrassed" and felt "sick to her stomach" after the incident.

Judge Jane Miller QC decided to suspend Illsley's prison term, but when she first announced the custodial sentence, there were cries from the public gallery, with some family members declaring their distaste at the decision before the judge could announce she was suspending it.

The 24-year-old told the girl that she was "perfect and beautiful", prosecutor Andy Houston told Winchester Crown Court on Friday.

"There was a grooming process," he continued. "Various suggestive messages were exchanged, they referred to masturbation and ejaculation."

Mr Houston added that the defendant "indicated he wanted to progress things", before he then touched her sexually.

Defending, Adrienne Knight said that Illsley was "embarrassed by what he has done".

He had initially denied the charges but later changed his plea to guilty.

Ms Knight said this was because "he [could not] take the embarrassment" of admitting what had happened to his family.

"This morning, he still started getting really upset and crying because he can’t face admitting to it," she continued.

"He is so terrified by coming to court and the prospect of prison that he will do everything in his power to not be before the courts again.

"He doesn’t feel that he is a sex offender, but he knows that is now his label.

"He was never going to hurt her. He wasn't trying to groom her, he wasn't using it as an excuse to have sex with her."

However, Judge Miller disagreed with Ms Knight, saying: "I hope you know full well the extent of the offences you have committed.

"You knew that this was all entirely inappropriate.

"I cannot accept the messages were not grooming, and you used the messages to your own purpose.

"[The victim] said she felt stick to her stomach. She of course ended up blaming herself for letting it happen, where it was nothing to do with her and all you."

Judge Miller told Illsley that she would be sending him to prison for a total of ten months, which caused his family members and friends in the public gallery to let out cries.

They could even still be heard in the courtroom after they had left the public gallery.

But the judge angrily addressed the remaining members: "May I suggest that some of you wait and hear what I am about to do."

She suspended the prison sentence for two years, in which time he must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

"It is a great pity that your friends and family are not able to be as composed as you Mr Illsley.

"This is a chance that you are getting. Please don’t throw that away. Please don’t let us see you here again."