TWO boys from Gwent have been convicted of raping a girl of 10 when they were aged just 12 and 13, and will now have to sign the sex offenders’ register.

The boys, now both aged 14 and who escaped custodial sentences, later dared the girl, a friend, to engage in sexual activity - and her shocked mother discovered them, a court heard.

Newport Crown Court was yesterday told the boys had taken part in an “impulsive sexual experimentation gone wrong” on two separate occasions in February and June last year.

The first defendant was charged with rape, and the second defendant charged with rape and three counts of causing and inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity. They had denied the charges but were found guilty of all offences after a trial last month (June).

In relation to the first incident in February 2013, the court heard how the girl and the two boys, who cannot be named, were playing football outside but decided to come back to the house of one of the defendants as it was getting cold.

When they got inside the house, they started playing video games, but the second defendant was encouraging the other to have sex with the victim.

The first defendant, who has an IQ of someone aged between eight and 10 years old but was aged 13 at the time, “lacked the emotional maturity to resist”, according to his defence lawyer Lawrence Jones.The court heard there was evidence the girl was also touched by the second defendant, who was 12.

In relation to the second incident, which took place in woodlands four months later, the trio were playing a game of “dare” when the victim was encouraged to perform sexual acts on the defendants. The mother of the victim came looking for her daughter, who had refused, and intervened.

Mr Jones added there was no evidence of premeditation and it was a case of “impulsive sexual experimentation gone wrong”. The second defendant’s defence lawyer, Heath Edwards, said his client had “learned his lesson”.

Sentencing the pair, Mr Recorder Ian Murphy QC said: “This is a very serious offence. Had you been adults, the court would have been looking at a lengthy custodial sentence.

“You two were very young at the time. You used to play football together with the defendant. She was visiting [one of the defendant’s] home and after playing football, you were cold and went back inside the house to play X-Box.

“You betrayed your friendship and you engaged in impulsive sexual exploration. No force was used but she was only a little girl of 10.

“This offence only came to light in June 2013 when you two were playing a game of ‘dare’ with her in the woods. Her mother came looking for her and saw one of the defendants trying to encourage her daughter. Naturally, [her mother] was horrified and intervened.

“Between February 2013 and June 2013, [the victim] continued her friendship with you. There have been severe consequences for her and her family, who have described their daughter as an ‘empty shell’ and having had her innocence ‘taken away from her’.”

The judge praised the actions of the victim’s mother for intervening and informing the appropriate authorities.

He sentenced the defendants to a youth rehabilitation order for a two-year period of intensive supervision. During that period they will undergo sexual offence programmes, educational activities and will be electronically tagged for three months with a 7am to 7pm curfew. Both will have to register on the sex offenders’ register for two-and-a-half years. The judge also ordered a victim surcharge of £15.