The case was heard at Manchester Crown Court (Image: MEN Media)

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A man who began sleeping with the underage daughter of his girlfriend after watching an episode of Eastenders has been jailed.

The predator, now 42, who can’t be named to protect the identity of the victim, had begun sleeping with the teenager after seeing a re-run episode of the soap, in which hardman Grant Mitchell has sex with his wife’s mother.

Aged 27 at the time, he then looked ‘pointedly’ at his partner’s daughter and said: ‘Oh isn’t he lucky’, Metro reports.

The pair later had sex under the nose of the girl’s unwitting mother and during their illicit four-month affair, the man told the youngster, from south Manchester , how much he loved her.

He didn’t use contraception, leading to the girl mistakenly fearing she had become pregnant, Manchester Crown Court heard.

For years the girl, now 29 and a mother-of-one who struggles with her mental health, was told to keep the affair a secret. But she eventually told her aunt in 2019.

Eastenders September 1998 video still showing Grant Mitchell played by actor Ross Kemp in a smouldering clinch with his mother in-law Louise played by actress Carol Harrison
(Image: BBC)

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“I was frightened about what would happen if I told her mother as I thought she would hate me,” she told police.

“I felt ashamed at the time, and I still feel I have let my mum down by what has happened. I am now struggling with my mental health.

“Because of what happened, I have kept my husband from our child, not letting him bath the child or change its nappies.

“I’m even worried about allowing friends to come for sleepovers. A part of my life has been negatively impacted.”

The court heard how the youngster had developed a ‘schoolgirl’ crush on the man after he moved in with her mother at their family home in 2000.

She later temporarily moved in with her grandmother when she told her mother he had been touching her but subsequently returned home in 2006.

The man paid the girl compliments, telling her how ‘grown up’ she looked and giving her alcohol to drink, the court was told.

One day while her mum was in the bath, the man gave the teenager a cannabis joint, kissed her, then had sex with her later that night.

Prosecutor Paul Treble said: “This was the first of many occasions – at least seven – and it went on for around three or four months.

“The final occasion was shortly after New Year of 2007, following which she told the defendant that they had to stop. The Defendant told her, “If this ever came out, it’d be you that’d be in trouble”.’

The man voluntarily attended Longsight police station in October 2019 for interview. He said he did not wish for a solicitor as he ‘had done it’ and was said to have made ‘frank admissions’.

He was jailed for eight years after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and indecent assault.

Jonathan James Turner, defending, said his client has a new partner but has ‘lost his entire family’ as a consequence of his actions.

On top of his sentence, the man was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register indefinitely and was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.