THE mother of a teenage girl groomed by a sexual predator went to police when she discovered that her daughter had sent indecent images of herself to him.

Nicholas Daniels was caught after officers tracked his mobile number on chat messages to the St Helens girl.

At Liverpool Crown Court this week he was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty inciting a child to engage in sexual activity without consent.

It marked the first successful prosecution by the St Helens Child Sexual Exploitation Team.

Police told the Star how last November the mother of the 14-year-old had grown increasingly concerned about her mood change and worsening performance at school.

After looking at the teenager’s phone she discovered a number of indecent images.

She handed it to police who discovered that Daniels had contacted the girl between October 17 and 31 2013 via WhatsApp and incited her to take and send indecent images of herself.

He was arrested in January and admitted asking for images of the girl, knowing she was just 14.

In the court hearing Daniels, 30, from Barry in South Wales, was sentenced to 14 months in prison – suspended for two years – and given a ten year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Unsworth said: “Nicholas Daniels is a manipulative man who preyed on a teenage girl while she was at a vulnerable stage in her life.

“The bravery of this victim has been outstanding and her evidence was absolutely crucial to the case. She found the courage to report what happened.

“I hope this case sends out a strong message to victims of sexual abuse, whether it is recent or historic, that if you can find the courage to come forward the authorities will be there for you.

“I would also warn sexual predators who think they can get away with it; they won’t.”

The prosecution comes in the same month that a conference was held in St Helens that warned of online dangers and urged parents to gain a greater understanding of what their children are doing on the internet.