Prescot cheerleading coach who groomed and abused girls jailed for 15 years
A cheerleading coach has been jailed for 15 years after grooming and sexually abusing three children in a nine-year campaign of exploitation.
Tom Walsh, 37, of Prescot, Merseyside, admitted 28 counts of sexual abuse against three girls as well as possessing and distributing child abuse images.
The offences took place primarily in the northwest region, although he also communicated with multiple girls across the UK in attempt to procure images from them. His actions were brought to light during an investigation conducted by the Regional Organised Crime Unit. The investigation unveiled a plethora of indecent images of children stored in his device, as well as exchanges in messages between him and the victims, primarily on the app Snapchat.
For one of the victims, cheerleading was intended to provide a secure environment, yet Walsh exploited it as his hunting grounds, police said.
As well as his 15 year jail sentence, Walsh was sentenced to an additional five years on licence and was given a lifetime sexual harm prevention order during sentencing at Bolton Crown Court.
Det Ch Insp Suzanne Keenaghan of Greater Manchester Police described Walsh as “manipulative, predatory and exploitative”.
She said: “Walsh was placed in a position of authority and he professed to be a father figure and friend to his victims, but he was their abuser.
“He was manipulative, predatory and exploitative, and used typical grooming behaviour to befriend children who were going through difficult times and were vulnerable.
“He has never shown remorse or recognition for what he has done.”