A baby-faced sex offender has been spared jail, despite admitting he raped a schoolgirl aged just 12 when he was only 16.

Despite looking much younger, Charlie Flinders, from Rotherham, was convicted of the horrifying rape at a court hearing in December last year.

Flinders raped his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, knowing that she was underage when he made contact with her.

Flinders, of South Street, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday (13 February) where he was sentenced, after pleading guilty to rape.

The court heard that despite knowing her age the defendant still sent his victim explicit text messages amounting to "sexual communication" that were revealed during the police investigation.

Following the hearing Flinders was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting one count of rape in 2015. In a statement Detective Sergeant Gareth Gent said that the defendant knew that his actions were against the law.

"Flinders sent sexually inappropriate messages to a child, knowing she was underage and that his actions were against the law," Gent said on Tuesday (13 February).

"Our enquiries uncovered evidence of Flinders being in sexual communication with his victim around the time of the crime.

"This culminated in the rape of a child and this sentencing means he will now receive the appropriate monitoring and rehabilitation. Should he re-offend, he faces going to prison.

"His criminal behaviour has undoubtedly contributed to the impact on his victim's life."

He added: "Child sexual abuse can have a devastating effect on its victims and I hope that this young girl is now able to move forwards in her recovery with the knowledge that her abuser has been brought to justice.

"If anyone out there is suffering sexual abuse or exploitation, or if you have concerns for a child, please contact police. We have dedicated officers and agencies who are here to listen, support victims and their families, and prosecute offenders of this awful crime."