A 41-year-old man has been found guilty of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

A 14-year-old boy met the man, Vincent Oakes of Park Street, Kidderminster, on a gay internet site.

The teenager claimed he was 18 and told Oakes that he could not be open about his sexuality with his parents.

The boy became emotionally attached to Oakes after they met. Oakes took the boy to his home on several occasions, and the teenager thought of Oakes as his boyfirend, the court was told.

A report on the three-day trial in the Kidderminster Shuttle states that the jury cleared Oakes of sexual activity with a child and failed to reach a verdict on a similar charge.

The prosecution have been given 14 days by the judge to decide on a retrial on those charges.

Worcester Crown Court was told by prosecutor Neal Williams that Oakes, a former Samaritans volunteer, “stepped over the line of a trusted and caring adviser. He knew perfectly well what he was getting into but couldn’t help himself.”

“The laws exist to protect young people from themselves and from being taken advantage of by others,” Mr Williams told the court, according to the Shuttle.

The defence claimed that the charges of sexual contact were a figment of the boy’s imagination, and that Oakes merely wished to help the teenager.

While admitting that Oakes had been naïve and stupid, defence counsel Ian Speed denied his client was a predator.

Oakes was bailed and must sign the sex offenders register.