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Father, 11, hides as pregnant girl faces the media

The families of an 11-year-old boy and the 15-year-old girl he made pregnant were last night struggling to come to terms with the fact that the youngsters were having a baby.

Theresa Stewart and her son, Sean, 11, now Britain's youngest known father, have gone into hiding while the mother-to-be, Emma Webster, 15, braved the media with her parents. Emma, who lives next door to Sean in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, said she only found out how young he was when she told his mother she was expecting his baby. She was, she said, angry with Sean for giving her the impression that he was the same age as her. The fact that he attends Margaret Beaufort Middle School in Riseley had apparently not made her suspicious.

"It was not until I said I was pregnant to his mum and his mum turned around and said 'how can an 11-year-old be the father?' that I knew," she said. "I was shocked and I wanted to know why he had lied to me about his age."

But once Emma had overcome the initial shock, she adjusted to the idea of being pregnant and adopted the attitude that: "It was my mistake, nothing can change it now." She has chosen names for the baby, who will be her parents' first grandchild: Rebecca Jade if it is a girl and Ben Louis if it is a boy.

She is still seeing Sean, whom she has dated since November, and hopes he will give as much support as he can. Her parents have agreed to look after the baby, which is due in January, when she returns to Sharnbrook Upper School.

A spokeswoman for the Family Planning Association described the pregnancy as "an isolated case". She added: "I have never heard of an 11-year-old boy making a girl pregnant before." Records reveal the ages of young mothers, but not of fathers. In 1995, for example, there was one live birth to an 11-year-old and two to 12-year-olds. In most cases of a young girl becoming pregnant the father is either the same age or older.

It was only when Emma went to the doctor because she felt unwell that she discovered she was pregnant. "I thought I might have had a bug or something," she said. "The doctor said the symptoms I had made him think I was pregnant and the tests were positive."

Her mother, Shirley, 46, and father, Ray, 49, were devastated when they heard that she had been impregnated by an 11-year-old. First, they had thought the "mature-looking" Sean was 14 and, secondly, they had no idea that the pair were having sex. "We didn't realise they were sleeping together until Emma dropped that little bombshell about the baby," said Mr Webster.

Six weeks on, they have adjusted to the news and are impressed by the way the youngsters have handled the situation. "I think they have done everything that could be asked of them," said Mrs Webster, who has, with her husband, discussed the baby with Sean's family.

Sean's mother, Theresa, is said to be unhappy with the situation. She reportedly said, before disappearing to an unknown address: "He [Sean] is only a child. He doesn't really understand what is going on. This has put him under tremendous pressure. She [Emma] is much more mature and experienced than him, and I worry as any mother would."

Emma, who turns 16 in November, decided to keep the baby after much soul-searching and counselling. Her parents have agreed to take financial responsibility for the baby's upbringing, and are not expecting any contributions from Sean or his family. They do not, however, intend to hide the situation from the child, who would be told that Sean, who turns 12 in December, was the father.

Bedfordshire County Council said social workers were monitoring the situation. "We have been in contact with both sets of families ... and we are offering our support," said a spokesman.

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