South Shields radio presenter locked up for sex with underage girl

Radio presenter Ben Cairns has been jailed.
Radio presenter Ben Cairns has been jailed.

A radio DJ who had sex with an underage girl has been put behind bars.

Ben Cairns was working at a local North Tyneside-based station more than a decade ago when the teen victim saw adverts about his programme.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he "befriended" her after they met and that he went on to have sex with her.

Cairns, 38, of Osborne Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to two offences of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming.

The court heard the victim, who is now an adult, now feels "ashamed, angry and upset" at what happened to her.

She said she felt "poweless" to stop it.

She said in a victim impact statement: "I have gone through hell."

Judge Sarah Mallett said the victim at the time was "too young to make an informed decision".

Julie Clemitson, defending, said Cairns has family who depend on him and who will suffer as a result of his absence.

She said Cairns and his victim, despite the age gap, were not generations apart in maturity.

She added: "One thing led to another. He should have waited until she was 16. Had he done so, the court would not be troubled by the behaviour."

Judge Sarah Mallett sentenced him to four years behind bars with lifelong registration as a sex offender and placed him on sexual harm prevention order.