June 2021

Mum gasped at paedophile’s sick WhatsApp messages to her son

A paedophile sent sick WhatsApp messages to a boy and suggested he play a sexual “prank” on his mum.

Convicted sex offender Paul Roberts groomed the child with presents and invited him to his flat to play XBox.

While there he cuddled and kissed the boy, who also got undressed after a “water fight” involving another child.

But his twisted behaviour and the detail of the supposed prank, which is too obscene to publish, came to light after Robert’s online persona “Saint” was exposed.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Roberts, 37, was hit with a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) in October 2011.

That was made when the pervert received a community order for possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Charlotte Kenny, prosecuting, said Roberts, of Boardsman Lane, St Helens, first breached the SOPO by having unsupervised contact with two children in 2019.

She said Roberts had regular contact with a boy – Boy A – with the permission of that child’s mum, which was therefore not a breach.

But during a safeguarding investigation, Boy A revealed two friends had unsupervised contact with Roberts, when he took them to a cinema and a park.

Ms Kenny said both of those boys’ parents were unaware of Roberts’ convictions and he received 16 months in jail, suspended for two years, on July 17, 2020.

However, within days of being spared jail, he started sending WhatsApp messages to Boy A, now without his mum’s knowledge or consent.

This came to light when the National Crime Agency investigated someone using the online profile “Saint”, which was later discovered to be Roberts.

The court heard Roberts had only produced one mobile phone when visited by an offender manager, but when NCA officers raided his home on May 7 this year, they found four mobile phones and two laptops.

Examination revealed he had used CCleaner software on February 12, 2021 to wipe data from the devices, but “artefacts” showed he had sexually explicit chats with another person online about “sexually abusing children”.

Roberts also talked about a boy who he had kissed and cuddled and about having had “nice views” of him naked.

Ms Kenny said there was “some indication” this was Boy A.

The court heard WhatsApp messages recovered from Roberts’ phone showed him “grooming” Boy A with affectionate terms but also asking him about sexual topics and suggesting he play a sexual “prank” on his mum.

Ms Kenny said the boy was interviewed in the presence of his mum, who was described as “gasping in shock” when she heard the sexualised comments sent by Roberts.

Boy A revealed he had been to Roberts’ flat at least three times, maybe five times.

He said he had been “uncomfortable”, but that Roberts had taken him to the cinema and bought him presents, including clothing, computer equipment, money and a bike, which made him feel “really happy”.

He said one time when playing XBox, Roberts had cuddled him, one time he kissed him on the lips when he left his flat, and another time they had a water fight when another friend was there, after which their clothes were wet and they had to take them off to dry.

Ms Kenny said: “On one occasion he offered to buy him some condoms.”

Roberts admitted three new counts of breaching his SOPO and breaching the suspended sentence imposed last July.

Recorder Harris imposed a new Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) – an updated version of SOPOs – for a period of 15 years.

He said Roberts’ actions demonstrated “you cannot or will not stop offending in a way which in my view is dangerous to children”.

The judge jailed him for three years and four months in total, which included 12 months of his previous suspended sentence.