A 22-year-old road worker from Amersham has avoided being jailed after asking a 14-year-old girl when she wanted to lose her virginity via Facebook - as a judge to warn of the dangers of young people adding large numbers of friends online.

William Barter, from Whielden Lane, was handed a suspended sentence at Aylesbury Crown Court at Friday after judge Francis Sheridan ruled his low intelligence was a factor for him not being jailed.

The court heard how Barter’s young victim wanted to have an opportunity to meet new people and so asked a friend to give her a list of new contacts for her mobile Snapchat account.

Unfortunately, one of the people she was connected with was Barter, aged 20 at the time, who made contact that same day and sent her filthy messages.

Sentencing Barter, Judge Francis Sheridan said: “Youngsters, particularly these days, want to have lots and lots of friends, most of whom they have never met. They know nothing about them and you, in this case, were no friend at all. When you contacted her, you went straight for the jugular.”

Disturbed by his behaviour, the young victim blocked Barter, only to find that he contacted her the very next day by a different medium - Facebook messenger.

Prosecuting at Aylesbury Crown Court on Friday afternoon David Povall said: “She having blocked him on January 27 on Snapchat, he found her on Facebook Messenger and contacted her on January 28 - the next day.

“She made it very clear she was only 14 years old. However he sent messages asking when she wanted to lose her virginity and asked ‘are you going to let me take it?’ He asked to meet her later the same day. When she protested he responded that it wasn’t wrong and her age should not stop them.”

The victim blocked Barter on Facebook and informed her mother, who got the police involved. When Barter was arrested he gave a "no comment" interview and only admitted inciting the girl to sexual acts at a plea hearing on April 10.

Defending Barter, a large man with slicked back hair who sat in court wearing a blue shirt and tie, Matthew Nash said he was in the bottom three per cent in terms of intellect, with an IQ of about 75, which compromised his ability to articulate his concerns.

He added that Barter was in work as a member of road crew and assisted his father on his farm, where he would care for livestock if ever his father went away.

Judge Sheridan, in sentencing, said: “You are a dirty-minded individual and in this case you saw your chance and what you sought to do was to incite a child to engage in sexual activity with you.

“It is actually outrageous when you think of what you said to that young girl. She is entitled to her innocence, she is entitled to that as a right - that is the law. How dare you trespass into her life in that revolting way.”

However, the judge pointed to a psychiatric report which explained that Barter was of low intelligence as the main reason why he would not jail the sex offender.

Instead, Barter was handed a sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as an unpaid work requirement of 180 hours, 15 days rehabilitation and 12 months supervision. He was also ordered to sign into the Sex Offenders' Register and remain on it for seven years.

As an additional step, Barter was banned from creating a social media account and prevented from deleting his internet history for the next seven years. He was ordered to pay £250 to his victim.

Judge Sheridan told him: “Let me make one thing clear to you: you come back, breaching this order or not doing the work, you’re going to prison. I tell you now, you will go inside.”