A man accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl he contacted through Facebook claimed he is in love with her, the High Court heard yesterday.
Gheorghita-Gabriel Nastasa told police he was aware of her age but didn’t realise he had committed any offence.
The 26-year-old Romanian national, with an address at Thomas Street in Portadown, Co Armagh, faces a charge of sexual activity with a child after arriving in Northern Ireland.
During a bail application it emerged that police were contacted when the girl and her mother attended a hospital on July 11.
“The child’s mother had discovered she may not be a virgin and she wanted confirmation of this,” a Crown lawyer said.
The girl told a nurse she had had sex with Nastasa in a bedroom at her family home earlier that month.
Prosecution counsel continued: “Their relationship had been initiated following Facebook contact the applicant made with the child.”
Medical tests confirmed the girl was not pregnant, with her parents insisting they had been oblivious to any sexual activity.
Their daughter subsequently claimed the accused took advantage of her, the court heard.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan was told Nastasa admitted sexual intercourse after his arrest.
“He said he knew she was 13-years-old, however he stated that he didn’t know this was a criminal offence,” prosecution counsel said.
It was revealed that Nastasa only arrived in Northern Ireland in April this year.
Within weeks he had been given the girl’s Facebook details by a third party and initiated contact.
Detectives plan to interview that other person as part of their ongoing inquiries.
Adjourning the bail application until the third party has been interviewed, Sir Declan said it would give “a better sense of what this is all about”.