A 29-year-old tennis coach described as a 'predatory paedophile' has avoided jail after being convicted of having sex chats with a thirteen year old girl.

Emyr Pepperell, of Two Mile Lane, Highnam, Gloucester, told the girl she was 'hot' and made other crude remarks.

But his illegal conversations were stopped when the girl's mother discovered what was going on and alerted the police.

Pepperell was then arrested and dismissed by his tennis club.

Last month a jury found Pepperell guilty of engaging in sexual communication with a child between November 30 and December 3, 2019 for the purposes of sexual gratification and yesterday (November 23) he was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court.

Pepperell was sentenced by the judge, Recorder Suzanne Chalmers, to a three year community order, during which he has to do 150 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The Recorder also barred him from working with children in the future.

Recorder Chalmers told Pepperell “You were 27 at the time when you contacted the girl over the internet claiming to be much younger.

“After communicating with your victim for about a month, she told you that she had only just turned 13.

“Instead of breaking off the conversation you then sent her a series of messages including one that stated you wanted to have sex with her.

“This offending crosses the custody threshold but in my mind your case would best be served with a three year community order.”

The young victim said in her statement: “As a result of what happened I’ve gone from a normal happy child to someone who needs counselling."

Chloe Griggs, defending, said it was Pepperell's case that he always believed the girl to be 16 and not 13.

“This was an isolated incident which happened while he was suffering from a decline in his own mental health. He was diagnosed with depression in the same month in which this conversation occurred.

“He has shown significant remorse and is disgusted with himself that he had this sexual conversation with a minor and realises the impact it has had on her.

Pepperell was subjected to the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for seven years, limiting his use of the internet, placed him on the sex offenders’ register for the same time period and an indefinite restraining order not to contact his victim.