Fortnite paedo, 23, who used game to groom boys as young as seven online, jailed

A paedophile who used the popular video game Fortnite as well as Instagram and TikTok to groom young boys online has been jailed.

Adam Syers, 23, had been spared jail last September after uploading a video to Facebook that showed him making vile comments to a mother and her toddler.

But within hours of leaving the court, he was back online, trying to snare children playing Fortnite and Roblox on Xbox Live.

Using the username JuicyGamer, he encouraged one 12-year-old boy to use his credit card and rack up £200 of charges on games. In exchange, he demanded that the child sent him a photo of himself wearing shorts.

It wasn’t until a month later that the boy's mum noticed a credit card on her son's Xbox gaming account registered to a name and address associated with Syers, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Louise McCloskey, prosecuting, said her son explained the card belonged to "Adam", whom he had become friends with online.

The mum asked to chat to then 22-year-old Syers on the Xbox, who explained he let her son buy a game for £7.99.

He had actually allowed £200 of purchases, but claimed he wasn't good with numbers, was autistic and considered her son to be a friend.

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Syers also targeted a seven-year-old boy, asking him whether he wanted to go on a date with him and be his "boyfriend".

That child's mum discovered a string of "inappropriate messages" between the two on October 5.

Syers gave the little boy his mobile number and asked "can I meet you?" before asking him to call and sending the message: "I love you."

The boy said they played Fortnite together and when he told the man he was seven, he asked if he wanted to go to his house to play football or Fortnite and to change his Xbox name because he would get in trouble if anyone found out.

Ms McCloskey said: "The man also asked whether he wanted to go on a date with him and be his boyfriend. He had also commented that he was fit."

Police attended Syers’s home on September 15. They checked his phone and found that he had been regularly accessing Pornhub, Grindr, Chaturbate, Snapchat and Instagram.

On Instagram, he been sending messages to a third unidentified boy – thought to be under 11 – who Syers denied knowing.

Screenshots revealed that Syers had a photo of the boy, and had asked his age, and whether his mum was there Syers told the boy that he loved him, and had live chats with him, and told him "this is our secret”.

He admitted three counts of breaching his SHPO, failing to comply with notification requirements and breaching his suspended sentence.

A report said he hadn't attended any rehabilitation appointments since November, showed "no insight", denied a sexual attraction to children and there were "significant risk concerns".

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Syers has a conviction for sexual assault on a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity dating from November 2012. He received a warning for this offence when he was aged just 14.

Natalia Cornwall, defending, said Syers only had "himself to blame" for not taking the chance given to him last year.

She said he now accepted he had a "problem" and "a sexual interest in children".

Ms Cornwall said Syers was immature and diagnosed with ADHD, autism, learning and speech difficulties, and struggled to put on weight because of stomach ulcers.

She said: "He himself has had a difficult upbringing. He was taken into care from a relatively young age, he himself has suffered abuse whilst in foster care and he also had to deal with the death of his mother.

"He now has no contact at all with any of his family members and is effectively isolated within the community."

Judge Rachel Smith accepted Syers was himself a "vulnerable individual" and there was "some prospect of rehabilitation".

However, she said: "Only immediate custody will follow for the range of offences that you have committed in this case."

The judge said it was a "persistent breach risking serious harm" and jailed him for two years and eight months.

She made a new seven-year SHPO, told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely, and ordered the destruction of his iPhone and Xbox.

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