A CAFE owner groomed a teen boy who had initially approached the man asking about a part-time job, Swindon Crown Court heard.

Julian Mortimer, 60, sent around 100 emails to the under-16, talking of how he missed the boy’s hugs and signing the missives with kisses.

The friendship was reported to police by the teen’s grandmother.

She was right to have been suspicious: Mortimer was jailed in 1992 for a series of indecent assaults on children and in 2009 was convicted of indecent image charges and made subject to a sexual offences prevention order banning him from befriending under-16s unless their guardians were aware of his criminal past.

Mortimer, of Newton, Trowbridge, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

Sentencing him to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Jason Taylor QC said the café owner had been grooming the boy.

He said: “I do not accept this was just friendship from your perspective. You chose to deliberately lie to your offender management and that is because you knew what you were doing was wrong and I am confident in the view that your motives were not innocent.”

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston told Swindon Crown Court that Mortimer ran the Stage Door café, near Trowbridge railway station.

At the start of the year a teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, came in asking for a part-time job.

Mortimer said he did not have work available. But the two developed an unlikely friendship, with the pair bonding over a shared love of theatre. The older man showered the boy with free food and drink, took the lad on a trip to a wholesalers and sending him around 100 emails over four weeks in February and March.

In mid-March he invited the boy to come for tea the following Sunday. The youngster’s mother was concerned, but her mind was put at rest when Mortimer visited her at work and invited her along too.

Ms Hingston said the boy’s grandmother was concerned and contacted the police. Officers visited the lad’s mother and told her about her son’s friend’s history. She stopped contact between the two, telling Mortimer her son was unwell.

The café owner was arrested and, when interviewed by police, acknowledged his friendship with the teen but said the relationship was “pure gold” – and denied any sexual interest or that he had pursued a friendship with the boy in order to attract similarly-aged boys.

Mortimer was jailed for six years in 1992 at Chichester Crown Court for buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency. He was given a community order in 2009 by a Bristol judge after he was convicted of making indecent images of children. A sexual offences prevention order banned him from associating or befriending under-age boys unless their parents were aware of his convictions.

Defending, Nicholas Clough said this was the first breach of the order in 11 years, he made admissions to police, handed over his digital devices for inspection by police and had not come to police attention since his last court appearance.

“All the signs are this is not a man who is going out and seeking the attention and company of young people,” he said

Under the terms of his suspended jail sentence, Mortimer must complete 30 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service and abide by a four month curfew and wear a GPS tag for a year.

He was given a new 10-year sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offender register for life.