A man who groomed a 15-year-old girl for sex after discovering she had just given birth wept uncontrollably as he was banged up for 10 months.

Brian Cocker (27) plied the vulnerable young mother with alcohol during “frequent” sex sessions despite knowing she was underage.

Perth Sheriff Court was told he had found the girl on Facebook and formed a relationship with her after sending a message to congratulate her on having a baby.

Cocker claimed he was depressed after being dumped by his own partner just weeks after the birth of their own child.

The court was told he continued to see the girl despite being warned off by her mother and later confessed to “being in love” with her.

Fiscal depute Rebecca Kynaston said it was only when the girl moved to a new home that the distance from Cocker meant she felt able to report him to the police.

Cocker, of Galvelmore Street in Crieff, admitted having unlawful sexual intercourse with a child aged 15 between 1 March and 30 June 30 2012.

Mrs Kynaston said: “The accused was 25-years-old at the time and was having this relationship with a 15-year-old girl. He was aware of her age throughout.

“The accused made the initial contact. She had just had a baby with her then boyfriend. She was living in foster care with her child. It’s fair to say she was in a vulnerable position given her age and where she was living.

“He first contacted her on Facebook, congratulating her on the recent birth of her child. The accused asked her age and she confirmed she was 15.

“Shortly after she attended his flat and they both consumed alcohol and began kissing. Sexual intercourse occurred within the living room.

“The sexual intercourse was consensual and afterwards they sat chatting and watching a film. He continued to see her throughout April, despite contact from her mother stating he should stay away.

“He responded by stating he had feelings for her. Until June they continued to meet frequently, drink alcohol, and have sex. She moved to Perth and the distance between them seemed to end the relationship.

“In November and December he contacted her on Facebook and stated he was in love with her and wanted her back. It was only after putting distance between them that the complainer was able to contact the police.” Cocker told the police the girl had given her consent and that he was fully aware she was underage. He told officers: “I feel stupid and embarrassed.” Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said: “Whilst you were aware of her age there were frequent instances when you and the complainer had sexual intercourse.

“There are further exacerbating factors. Firstly the complainer was in a vulnerable position. You were aware she had a child when she was underage. Further, on most occasions alcohol was consumed.

“All these factors indicate to me that it is appropriate to impose custody. Young women require to be protected.” As well as being jailed for 10 months, Cocker was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.