WELSHPOOL rapist Tom Piggott was labelled 'manipulative and devious' by a crown court judge as he was jailed for 10 years on Monday.

The former Oswestry Otters swimmer – and Paralympic hopeful – was found guilty of nine counts overall, including two counts of raping a child, three of sexual assaults on children, and two counts of inciting a child to take part in a sexual act.

Piggott, appearing via videolink at Mold Crown Court, was also told that he would not be up for automatic release on licence because he was considered a danger to the public, and will instead be forced to apply for parole.

Judge Niclas Parry passed sentence after hearing impact statements from two of Piggott's three victims and he also highlighted the ex-swimming coach's lack of remorse and accused him of 'arrogance'.

"What became clear during your trial is you're an extremely intelligent young man but manipulative and devious," said Judge Parry.

"This case has the hallmarks of the dangers to young children by sexual predators and the opportunity afforded to people like you by the easy access of social media.

"You were seeing the opportunities to groom young children and you took them.

"This case involved grooming and planning and arose out of one meeting, your first ever and one and only, and the impact on your victim has been significant.

"It is to their eternal credit that I can listen to evidence, that they have found the resilience to make something of their life.

"I make it clear from the outset that you’ll be sentence for the most dangerous offences.

"A vulnerable child was targeted and you had been warned by your father who'd been asked by the victim’s mother because the age gap was so big.

"You were trusted to play with a young boy but it was an opportunity to touch him and you took it by repeatedly touching his genitals.

"You instructed him to delete messages and this boy has been left angry and anxious.

"I can give you no credit – you had a trial and accused your victims of barefaced lies and you accused the police of targeting you.

"You are arrogant and there seems little motivation to address the offending.

"But I can’t ignore that at the age of 17 you were immature because of mental health and physical difficulties."

Throughout his testimony, Piggott, 21, insisted he was not the one responsible for the many messages grooming his victims, but that he had been hacked at the same time he was using his phone to send non-sexual texts.

However, the jury had heard from the prosecution that Piggott had inappropriately touched a young victim in their own bedroom before insisting on them that it was 'our secret', before the child's mother alerted police after finding more Whatsapp messages, plus evidence of more deleted.

And how in secluded woods, he had raped a child with whom he had exchanged sexually explicitly messages – and later sent her messages about how it had been "fun" and they should "do it again some time".

His phone history was forensically examined by police who found no evidence of a hacker – but did locate pictures of a third victim stored among others in an app designed for secrecy.

In his evidence, Piggott was dismissive of the information he was being given, repeating the same answer over and over again: “That couldn't have been me, I don't do that”.

The jury took less than hour to reject Piggott's claims, finding the swimmer – who had been aiming to compete at the Paralympics – guilty of all 10 charges against him.

On counts three and four – the rape of a child under the age of 13 – Piggott received 10 years, while he received a further five years for two more counts of sexually assaulting a child and indicting a child to commit a sexual act.

He will serve them concurrently, with a minimum of nine years in jail and 12 months on licence, if parole is not approved earlier.

He will also received a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and a restraining order.