Evening Telegraph

Mum recalls trauma of son, 10, being groomed by local youth football coach who avoided jail

Nicholas Henderson

An Australian woman has told how her young son was left traumatised after he was groomed online by a youth football coach from Perthshire.

The 10-year-old thought he was chatting with another schoolboy who shared an interest in skatepark videos.

But he was actually speaking to Nicholas Henderson who, at the time, worked as an under-15s coach with Scone Thistle FC.

Henderson, 29, appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and was sentenced to 180 hours of community service. He was also placed on a three-year supervision order, which effectively bans him from using the internet.

His victim’s family, from Adelaide, have broken their silence, revealing Henderson was caught out when Scottish relatives recognised the name of the club he coached.

The boy’s mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the young victim, told how her son was left in shock and worried Henderson was going to travel to Australia to “get him”.

She found Henderson on Facebook and sent him a message.

“I was pretty angry, so I did swear and call him a few names,” she said. “Because we live in Australia, I thought this man lived here in Perth.

“Our relatives who live in Perth, Scotland, said they recognised the football team.”

The woman said she reported the matter at her local police station but “they didn’t want to know”.

She then forwarded the messages to her cousin in Scotland, who contacted her local police office and within a matter of hours they had launched an investigation.