A former junior football coach groomed a teenage boy on Snapchat before abusing him, a court heard.

Paedophile John Smith had been jailed in 2019 for using the app to send pictures of his genitals to boys.

But the 24-year-old has since been caught again using Snapchat to target children, reports the Liverpool Echo.

He appeared at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after using the app to target a child before grooming and abusing him

After discovering what had happened to her son, the child's mother said: "I feel like I don't know my own son at all anymore."

The judge branded Smith's "unwanted and predatory instincts" as "dangerous" to young boys.

Peter Killen, prosecuting, said that Smith first began speaking with the boy on a different app before he suggested they move onto Snapchat.

Mr Killen said that the pair then exchanged numbers and would FaceTime each other.

In the messages Smith said he thought the child was "17 or 18" but when the boy told him he was a young teen he went on to groom him.

Mr Killen said: "The conversations began normally, they exchanged information about one another."

Smith began to ask the boy to "meet up for a kiss", and the pair later met up close to Smith's place of work, along with the child's sister.

As the boy's sister walked ahead of them, Smith said to the boy: "Your sister has walked off now should we kiss?"

The teenage boy didn't reply as he was "embarrassed" but added that they did kiss.

Mr Killen explained that once they left Smith "snapped him 'thanks for the kiss'".

Smith and the teen met up on a second occasion where they kissed again and Smith told the boy "kiss me if you want me to stop" as he touched the child's genital area.

It was only when the victim's sister called him that the sexual abuse was brought to a halt, with the boy telling Smith he had to go home.

Smith also sent the boy a video of him performing a sexual act upon himself, and asked the boy to send pictures of his genitals.

Mr Killen explained the boy discovered Smith was also contacting his friend, while believing they were in a relationship.

When the boy's family found out about the abuse the child told Smith they knew - and the paedophile then blocked him on social media.

In a victim personal statement the boy's mother said her son "hadn't been sleeping properly" and said he was in "overall bad health" and "very much not himself".

The mum said: "I feel like I don't know my own son at all any more. This is very upsetting."

She also said she didn't want to stay in the area and feels "her son isn't safe".

Smith was convicted after a trial in March 2019 for sexual communication with three boys, for which he was jailed for 18 months and ordered to adhere to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which he breached by committing the new offences.

Peter White, defending, explained Smith "accepted the Crown's case in its entirety".

He explained Smith "describes a very quiet, stable, happy childhood" with a "good education" and a "good history of employment".

Mr White said: "He has a very supportive family who are completely at a loss to understand, or able to make any sense about his offending behaviour."

He said Smith has "some issues regarding his own sexual orientation" adding it "in no way justifies this type of offending".

Mr White said Smith "genuinely is remorseful" and is "at a loss to explain his offending behaviour".

Smith, formerly of School Way, Speke, admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual communication with a child and breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The judge, Recorder Ian Unsworth, QC, said: "You subjected another victim, another young boy, to your unwanted and predatory instincts."

Referring to the victim's interview the judge said: "He has nothing to blame himself for and neither does his mother."

The judge said: "You had [the victim] exactly where you wanted him and all of this for your own sexual gratification with a young boy."

The judge said Smith posed a "significant risk of causing serious harm" adding "it's clear you possess little or no insight into the damage your activity has caused".

Recorder Unsworth said Smith was a "dangerous" offender and jailed him for four years and six months, with an extended three years on licence.

This type of sentence means he will spend at least two thirds of the custodial term behind bars.

Smith will then only be released before the end of his four-year sentence if a parole board considers he is no longer a risk.

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