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Nine years for woman who had sex with 12-year-old boy

A woman who had sex almost 200 times with a 12-year-old boy was today jailed for nine years.

Angela Sullivan, 36, even gave the boy - who was dubbed "manballs" by school friends - a pair of trainers as a reward after he slept with her for the 100th time.

When police arrested her in October, they found her diary marked with childish entries, and 191 stars against dates when they had sex.

The unemployed single mother, of Cavendish Road, Middlesbrough, admitted 10 specimen charges - relating to one sex session for each month of their fling last year - of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told Teesside Crown Court that the abuse started on the night of a party she threw at her home in January last year.

"On the 3rd to the 4th January the defendant threw a belated New Year's party," he said.

"Alcohol, including spirits, was available and it seems the young children at the party were freely able to consume it.

"During the course of the party the defendant said to the boy, 'Are you daring? Are you a devil? Are you game?'

"She tried to kiss the boy but he pulled away."

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, later told police he had consumed 10 bottles of the vodka-based drink WKD and was really drunk.

"The defendant took the intoxicated boy up to bed," Mr Bennett said.

"There is no doubt that at the time she knew he was only 12 years of age when she placed him on her own son's bed."

Sullivan undressed him and had sexual intercourse with him.

The next day the boy - described in court as a "young-looking 12-year-old" - had a heavy hangover and Sullivan told him: "I had sex with you and if anyone finds out it's classed as rape and everything".

"Each time the defendant had sexual intercourse with the boy she would place a star in her diary against the relevant date," Mr Bennett said.

"It is clear from the entries in her diary that the defendant believed she was in a relationship with the boy."

In the diary entry for May 17, which recorded the 76th time they had sex, Sullivan wrote "come on".

On August 1 - marking the 174th occasion - she wrote "got to reach 200".

"It also appears from her diary that she encouraged him to shave off his pubic hair as part of her celebration," Mr Bennett said.

"In her diary on that date, together with three stars, is the comment '(name) shaved pubes'."

Mr Bennett added: "The defendant groomed him by buying him gifts to keep him happy."

She would send her own son, also aged 12, to stay with his grandparents so she and the victim had the house to themselves.

"The defendant's 12-year-old son had seen the defendant having sex with the boy," the prosecutor said.

"He had seen this in the house when the defendant wasn't aware he was there. He had also seen this on video footage recorded by the defendant on her mobile phone."

Rumours began to circulate around the boy's school that he was in a relationship with Sullivan and that she was pregnant.

"He was given the nickname 'manballs' by his 12-year-old peers at school because of his apparent virility," Mr Bennett said.

Sullivan was "quite indiscreet about the relationship", sending friends texts or MSN computer messages about what she was doing.

When the allegations were reported to the police, Sullivan denied any sexual activity had taken place.

Andrew Turton, defending, said: "What Angela Sullivan did was wrong.

"It is quite clear that she did participate in a relationship with him and that the complainant was a willing participant in what went on."

Jailing Sullivan for nine years, Judge John Walford described the case as "shocking".

"You took advantage of this boy's age," the judge said.

"While I accept from the papers that you did not ply him with drink, the fact of the matter is that to allow a 12-year-old boy to drink, such that he did become intoxicated, is in my judgment shameful."

The judge condemned Sullivan for the psychological effect her conduct would have on the victim and her own son.

"But having read the pre-sentence report and the psychiatric report upon you I am prepared to accept this was an aberration, albeit one that was long lasting, rather than anything more serious," he said.

Sullivan, who had no previous convictions, was also placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Speaking after the case, Acting Detective Inspector John Wrintmore, of Cleveland Police, said: "We are pleased with the outcome of this difficult investigation and hope those affected by Angela Sullivan's actions can take a big step forward in rebuilding their lives.

"Angela Sullivan has clearly preyed on, and taken complete advantage of a vulnerable young boy.

"Sexual offences of any type, particularly where children are the victims, are treated extremely seriously by the police and courts and this sentence clearly demonstrates the consequences of such actions.

"Finally, I wish to commend the courage and strength of character shown by the young victim in this case as it would not have been an easy task to talk quite openly about what had happened.

"Without this we would not have been able to progress the investigation to this conclusion."