A LOVE-CHEAT who pressured a schoolgirl into having sex with him near a churchyard is starting prison sentence, as he still denies doing anything wrong.

Amateur footballer and supermarket worker David Loveday, 23, from North Yorkshire, showed no emotion as he was locked up at Teesside Crown Court.

He still denies that anything sexual happened between him and the teenager, although he did admit during his trial last month that he met the girl.

The jury found him guilty of six charges of sexual activity with a child and one each of causing and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Tony Briggs jailed him for three years and said: "Any sexual activity with a child ... is for obvious reasons illegal and a serious offence."

Defence barrister, Brian Russell, said there was little he could say in mitigation as Loveday, of Bankhead Road, Northallerton, still maintained the account he gave during his trial.

Mr Russell described Loveday as "rather immature and vulnerable" and said the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was grown-up for her age.

During a three-day trial, the jury heard that the teenager did not feel comfortable about the age-gap but felt unable to refuse Loveday's demands.

The pair had secret meetings near a churchyard, but on one occasion when they had sex on a bridge, they were seen by children who recognised the girl.

Loveday - who is known as Alex - played for the Northern Dons football team in Northallerton when he met the girl.

Prosecutor Simon Kealey said Loveday and the girl exchanged mobile phone numbers and sent texts to one another before their friendship developed - up to communicating dozens of times a day.

In some text messages, Loveday - who had a partner - told the girl he loved her, but after his arrest, he said nothing sexual had ever happened.

At least one of the girl's school friends knew the truth, and during the trial she said she felt under pressure to give in to what Loveday asked her to do.

The relationship came to light last summer when her mobile phone, containing the messages, was seen by others at her school, and police were called in.

In his interview with police, Loveday said he did not text the teenager too much because he spent most of his time with his girlfriend.

However, analysis of his phone showed he had sent 30 and received 33 messages, while on another day there were 77 exchanges, Mr Kealey told the court.