A CONVICTED paedophile who lied to police about contact with underage children has been spared jailed so he can follow his dream of becoming a professional chef.
Matthew Thain, 21, also breached the terms of his suspended sentence by getting in touch with a former victim.
Thain escaped jail in 2010, when he was living in Violet Lane, Waddon, after a judge ruled intensive supervision would protect other children from the teenage paedophile.
But concerns were raised after he started seeing a woman with a 12-year-old sister.
The Old Bailey was this week told that, when authorities started to investigate, Thain texted his lover to tell her: "Please don't tell the police I've been to the house".
The court also heard he had contacted two former victims.
Thain, currently living in Camberwell, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice and two breaches of a sexual offences prevention order.
Judge Peter Rook QC said: "This is worrying because it is manipulative behaviour when he thought he was in breach of a court order.
"It's covering up and it's quite hard to argue that it doesn't deserve a custodial sentence."
However, the judge agreed he could suspend the sentence to allow Thain to take up a position as an apprentice chef.
The judge imposed a five-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Thain will also be supervised by the probation service for the next 12 months and will have to carry out 80 hours' unpaid work.
He is already banned from unsupervised contact with those under 16 and is now prohibited from contacting specific, named children.
Prosecutor David Brown said concerns had been raised about the pervert's behaviour in April 2012 – less than two years after his previous conviction.
"It appeared then that he was in contact with a young lady over the relevant age over the internet and had formed a relationship with her.
"There were concerns he may have been aware she had a younger sister under the age of 16.
"So in June 2012 he was asked if her had been to her address or met her sister.
"He said he hadn't. Shortly after the conversation, he sent a text message saying in terms, 'Please don't tell the police I've been to your address'."
When police seized his phone they also uncovered messages between a former victim and another child he was banned from contacting.
He had been in touch with them more than 30 times during two months in late 2011 and had even wished one of the youngsters 'merry Christmas'.
John-Paul MacNamara, defending, said Thain had learning difficulties and had been abused himself as a child.
He insisted Thain did not understand what he was doing was a breach of his order.
Thain's 2010 conviction came after he took photographs of two girls, aged three and ten, posing provocatively to satisfy his sexual interest in children.
He also had a stash of other indecent images featuring children as young as four being abused.