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Discrepancy highlighted The maximum sentence for unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 is life.
The maximum sentence for sex with a girl over 13 is two years.
Wheeler, who will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for life, abused two 13-year-old friends after making contact with them through an internet chat room.
The electronics engineer had contacted the first girl through the internet when she was 11, and then "groomed her" for two years, buying her presents and taking her to the cinema.
'Dark cloud' John Farmer, prosecuting, told the court: "This case concerns a mature man who is a dangerous paedophile who initially made contact with a vulnerable girl through the internet chat rooms.
"He was prepared to play the long game, gain her trust and then abuse her.
"You can go to jail for a much longer time if you burgle a house or take cars or if you are involved in drugs.
"He gave the girl gifts and more cruelly, he spotted that she presented a loveless character and he exploited that to make her emotionally dependent upon him.
"He manipulated her to such a degree of dependence that she was prepared to lie to her parents." The mother of one of the girls said the length of sentence was "disgusting" because her daughter would have to live with it for the "rest of her life" and the whole family was under a "dark cloud".
She said realising "what he'd done to her was wrong" had left a deep scar on the girl.
She said she could only imagine her daughter had been "brain-washed" by Wheeler.