Mother turned detective to snare paedophile who sent explicit messages

Mother turned detective to snare paedophile, 29, when she posed as her daughter, 14, on Instagram after he sent explicit messages and offered her ‘PE sex education lessons’

  • Edward Smith, from Bury, sent the teenage girl a barrage of explicit messages
  • He asked for pictures of the girl in underwear and sent nude selfies of himself
  • But by then he was messaging the girl’s mother who reported him to the police
  • Smith was previously jailed over a sexual relationship with another teenage girl
  • At Minshull Street Crown Court, he was sent back to prison for 28 months 

A mother turned detective when she posed as her 14-year-old daughter to gather evidence on a predatory paedophile who had offered the youngster ‘PE sex education lessons’.

The woman went online and posed as the teenager after disgraced ex-football coach and former teaching assistant Edward Smith sent her daughter a barrage of explicit messages on Instagram. 

Smith, 29, asked for the pictures of the girl in her underwear and sent nude selfies of himself without realising he was sending them to the girl’s mother.

She later blocked Smith and reported him to police.

Inquiries revealed Smith had previously been jailed for 33 months over a sexual relationship with another 14-year-old girl he had coached and helped with her homework.

As a result of that, he was already on the sex offenders register and had been banned from communicating with children, using electronic devices, the internet and social media under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

He blamed his latest bout of offending on being ‘isolated and lonely’ due to the pandemic.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Smith, from Bury, was sent back to prison for another 28 months after he admitted breaching the SHPO and attempting to engage a child in sexual communications.

Edward Smith (pictured) admitted attempting to engage a child in sexual communications after sending a barrage of explicit messages to a 14-year-old girl on Instagram

The incident happened in October last year after Smith, who had been working as a volunteer in a dog pound, illegally created an Instagram profile and attempted to befriend the teenager by following her account. 

Laura Broome, prosecuting, said: ‘(The girl) received messages from him saying: “hey I’m hot” and she told her mother who then engaged in conversation with the defendant posing as her daughter.

‘She said she was 14 and he requested the conversation move to Snapchat where the defendant said he was in his 20s.

‘The messages became sexual very quickly and he offered to provide PE sex education lessons.

‘He said he would teach her how to kiss and sent pornographic videos saying they would teach her how to perform sexual acts. He also asked her bra size and what type of knickers she wore.

‘He made repeated requests for pictures of the girl in her underwear and sent pornographic films and pictures of women engaged in oral sex.’

On one occasion, when the girl told him she could not send pictures as she was getting ready for school, Smith ‘asked again for pictures to be sent during break time’, Miss Broome said. 

She added: ‘He then sent a picture of his penis and asked what she thought of it.

‘The mother said she had not seen one before as she was 14 and felt embarrassed. But the defendant responded by saying he would send more. She then blocked him and reported the messages to police.

Smith was arrested last month after police traced him through his IP address, the court heard.

His mobile phone was examined but he was found to have already deleted both Snapchat and Instagram.

He later admitted trying to contact the girl and said there were other children he had been communicating with.

In a statement, the girl’s mother said: ‘The incident caused me a great deal of concern – thankfully my daughter was sensible enough to tell me what was happening and I was able to protect her from being a victim of this man.

‘My daughter is upset and is worried about what could have happened had she not told me. It’s unfair that a child should be exposed to something like this.’

The court heard Smith (pictured), 29, had previously been jailed in 2017 after forming a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old he had met while coaching her football team

In June 2017, Smith had attempted to start a relationship with another under-age girl he had met while coaching her football team.

The court heard he had helped her with her maths homework and he took her to football games.

But he was arrested after an eye witness saw the pair kissing in a takeaway. Recognising Smith as someone who had coached her own daughter, the witness tipped off the Football Association.

Police found pictures on Smith’s mobile phone of him and the girl semi naked and discovered he and the teenager had sex on one occasion – a month after they insisted to friends their friendship was ‘platonic’, the court was told.

Smith lost his football coaching role following that first arrest and also his job as a high school teaching assistant.  

Due to his status as a convicted paedophile, he was subsequently banned from living with his 12-year old sister who has a serious illness connected to her hearing and cannot communicate with him by phone.

In mitigation, defence counsel Julian King said his client had mental health issues adding: ‘He was living with father and grandparents but it was Covid period and he felt increasingly isolated. He found lockdown particularly difficult and very sadly made the decision to do what he did.’

Sentencing Smith, Judge Maurice Greene told him: ‘You say were you were isolated and lonely but be that as it may, it didn’t force you to do what you did. It may be a factor in what happened but it has limited relevance.’ 

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