Boy of 13 becomes the father of twins

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A BOY aged 13 has become Britain's youngest father of twins. He and his partner, aged 17, from Gorton, Greater Manchester, have said they are determined to bring up their identical twin daughters, who were born six days ago.

The babies, named Leah and Louise, were five weeks premature and weighed 4lb 5oz. They are being kept at the special care unit of Wythenshawe Hospital, but the parents say they want to take them home in time for the boy's 14th birthday on Wednesday.

The couple have known each other for five years. The mother, Sarah Drinkwater, was on the Pill, and the pregnancy was not planned. However, both said they were "thrilled". They are believed to have sold their story to a Sunday newspaper.

Manchester City Council said that it was making inquiries into the case but no formal investigation had been undertaken at this stage. A spokesman said: "We are not involved with either of the families at the moment but we are ready to step in and help if necessary." Last year, officials launched an investigation after a 12-year-old girl, Kathleen Moss, gave birth to a baby at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Police say they have no plans to investigate, but Spurley Hey School where the boy was a pupil said legal action was under way over his truancy. The headteacher, Mary Powell, said in a statement: "This boy is, and has been, a persistent non-attender and was due to appear in court over his non- attendance.

"The school has a strong policy of on the provision of comprehensive sex education for all age groups. Any child attending school here positively would have a strong sense of right and wrong, responsibility, and would be in a position to make informed decisions."

The boy said yesterday: "It has all come as a nice shock. I was quite happy when I found out although it wasn't planned. My mum took me to one side and asked if we were going to keep them but she wasn't angry. My friends weren't sure about it. I think they are a bit jealous. We only found out my girlfriend was pregnant at five months then we had a scan and it showed the twins."

The boy said he planned to leave school as soon as possible and work full time delivering soft drinks. "I want to earn a few quid to see my babies right," he added.

Sarah Drinkwater said the two families were pulling together to try and make the best of what everyone realised was a difficult situation.

She said she and the boy both had sex education classes at school, and she did not know "what went wrong". She added: "I know it's going to be hard work but I love children. I have a nine-year-old sister so I am used to looking after children. I was thrilled to bits when I found out."

She said she hoped to go to college to study computer science and business studies.

The Gorton area of Manchester has a population of 26,000, 10 per cent of whom are single-parent families with children under the age of 16. The unemployment rate is nearly 10 per cent, 6 per cent above the national average. Last year, in Manchester as a whole, 364 girls became mothers before their 16th birthday.

Rachel Garbutt, director of the Manchester Brook Advisory Centre, said: "The age of becoming sexually active is becoming lower and sex education is not meeting it. Young people tell us that what they are taught at school is often too little, too late, and too biological."