A sexual predator accused of allegedly grooming an underage boy for sexual abuse, by showering him with gifts and sexual messages, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.

The case came to light after the young victim's mother discovered the lewd messages sent to her son’s phone and “gasped in shock.”

The predator, identified as Paul Roberts, 37, is a convicted sex offender who was reportedly charged with a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) in October 2011 for possessing and distributing indecent images of children. 

Roberts, of Boardman Lane, St Helens, allegedly took the boy to his flat three to five times to play with an Xbox and plied the child with presents such as clothing, computer equipment, money, and a bike.

Roberts allegedly also took the child to the cinema and hugged and kissed him on the lips back at his flat. He also reportedly made the child take off his clothes while playing a water fight in his apartment, Liverpool Echo reported. 

"On one occasion he offered to buy him some condoms," Charlotte Kenny, the prosecutor, said to the court.

Kenny said that Robert reportedly first breached the SOPO by having unsupervised contact with two other children in 2019, allegedly taking them to cinema halls and parks without their parent’s knowledge. He was then sentenced to 16 months in jail, and suspended for two years, on July 17, 2020.

After he was released from jail, he allegedly started sending WhatsApp messages to the young boy without his mother's knowledge or consent.

The incidents reportedly came to light when the National Crime Agency investigated an online profile with the name "Saint" contacting underage boys. The profile was later discovered to belong to Roberts.

Roberts had only produced one mobile phone when an offender manager visited him. However, four mobile phones and two laptops were reportedly confiscated from him when NCA officers raided his home on May 7 this year.

Roberts used software called CCleaner to wipe data from his devices but "artifacts" proved that he had sexually explicit chats with another person online about "sexually abusing children."

Roberts allegedly chatted about a boy who he had kissed and cuddled and had "nice views" naked. Kenny said there was "some indication" that this was the boy he was grooming.

The WhatsApp messages recovered from Roberts' phone reportedly showed him "grooming" the young child and asking him about sexual topics, even suggesting to play a sexual "prank" on his mother.

The boy was interviewed by authorities in the presence of his mother. The mother was reportedly "gasping in shock" when she heard the sexual messages sent by Roberts to her son.

The boy revealed that Roberts' actions had made him “uncomfortable.” He also confirmed that Roberts took him to cinema halls and bought him a lot of presents that made him “really happy.”

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

The judge, Recorder Ian Harris said: "You have shattered any prospect of a non-custodial sentence by your subsequent actions".

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

Roberts was reportedly previously jailed for three years and four months in total, which also included 12 months of his previous suspended sentence.

Paul Roberts Sexual predator Paul Roberts, who's been accused of grooming an underage boy for sexual abuse by showering him with gifts and sexual messages, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison. Liverpool Crown Court