Update: Now living in Manchester
Facebook famous Tomm Watt jailed for sex attacks on boys
A FORMER X-Factor contestant used his “modest celebrity status” to target underage boys before persuading them to commit sexual acts and send him indecent photographs of themselves.
Thomas Watton – also known as Tomm Watt – was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting a catalogue of sexual offences.
Grimsby Crown Court heard how the 20-year-old became popular on social networking sites after his appearance on the ITV reality show in 2011.
The wannabe singer, from Grimsby, used his new-found fame to commit sexual offences against eight boys who were 12, 13, 14 and 15 at the time.
The court heard how he would chat to them online before inviting them to his house where he would suggest engaging in sexual activity.
He would also ask them to send naked photographs to him, which he stored on his computer.
Judge Paul Watson QC said: “You took advantage of your modest celebrity status to befriend young boys and lure them back to your bedroom where you performed a variety of sexual acts on them, and them on you.
“These young boys were at an age where their sexuality was only just appearing, but you did your best to corrupt them to your own way of thinking.”
Social media played a major role in allowing former X Factor wannabe Thomas Watton to target underage boys for his sexual offending, a court heard.
The 20-year-old gained thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Skype, after auditioning for the show in 2011.
Grimsby Crown Court heard how he used the sites to contact eight boys who then became victims of his sexual offending between July 2011 and March 2013.
Simon Waley, prosecuting, said: “These offences relate to an intensive period of contact this defendant had with young boys, particularly those aged 13 and 14, online.
“They all began with contact on Facebook or Skype and moved on to sexual conversations.
“The defendant tended to follow a pattern of inviting the boys back to his house to watch a film and then suggesting they engage in sexual activity.
“During the relevant period, he had a certain local notoriety, having appeared on a popular TV show and that played a part in how the boys he contacted responded to him.”
Watton admitted 12 offences in all, including four of sexual activity with a child, two of possessing indecent photographs of a child and six of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Mr Waley told the court how Watton:
Sent a 13-year-old boy a text asking if he “wanted to do stuff” with him while they were sat in his bedroom watching a film.
Sent a text to a friend gloating about his sexual encounters with a 13-year-old. It later led to his arrest.
Warned a 14-year-old not to tell anybody about what they had done.
Bragged to a 14-year-old boy: “You’d be my 86th straight lad” – a claim he later denied in interview.
Made a 14-year-old feel “blackmailed” by threatening to re-post private sexual messages between them unless he engaged in sexual activity with him.
Told another victim to “get Aids and die” when his advances were rejected – another claim he later refuted.
The court heard how two laptops and a mobile phone belonging to Watton were seized by police and revealed 100 folders with boys’ names, some containing indecent photographs.
Simon Hirst, mitigating, said: “The vast majority of these offences occurred when the defendant was 18.
“This was all taking place at a difficult time for the defendant because of bullying and his sexuality,” added Mr Hirst.
“He felt unable to speak about these issues with older people. He found children of this age more on his level.”
He told the court how Watton has enrolled on qualifications in English, maths and fine art since he entered prison and is willing to take part in a sex offenders’ rehabilitation course upon his release.
References from Watton, his mother, grandmother, auntie and more were handed to the judge.
The former Grimsby Institute student was studying graphic design at Leeds Metropolitan University.
He is known in the local area for performing at and organising fundraising events.