A predator sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl after sending her WhatsApp messages saying “I love you” and calling her his “girlfriend”.

John Boyd, of Prestonpans, East Lothian, spent weeks sending messages to the youngster referring to her “kissable” lips and calling her “my gorgeous princess”.

The 54-year-old HGV driver later lured the youngster to a bedroom and picked her up, kissed her and squeezed her buttocks.

Boyd, was caught when the girl broke down and told her mum what had happened, the Daily Record reports.

Boyd pled guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday September 15 to sending sexual written communications via text and WhatsApp to a child between June 28 and August 5 last year and asking for photos of her.

Boyd spent weeks sending messages to the youngster referring to her “kissable” lips and calling her “my gorgeous princess”

He also admitted sexually assaulting the girl last August 5. The court heard depraved Boyd has two previous convictions for offences involving girls aged 10 and 15, one dating from 2001.

Fiscal depute Anna Robertson said Boyd took the girl to the cinema last June with her mother’s permission.

She said Boyd told the youngster she should do her hair and make-up, and referred to their “date”.

Boyd sent the girl vile messages on WhatsApp

The court heard Boyd and the girl started exchanging messages on WhatsApp. In one, the girl sent a photo and Boyd replied: “You look beautiful”.

Boyd also wrote: “I’m one lucky man taking you out on a date.”

After the girl sent him a photo last July 1, he replied: “You look nice tonight.” Later he told her: “I miss you too. Missing my kisses and cuddles.”

More messages from Boyd said “I love you” and “will see you soon princess and hold you in my arms”.

Boyd and the girl exchanged a number of messages

Later vile Boyd messaged her saying he was going to sleep as he was working at 4am and said: “I will dream about you.”

Further messages said, “Can’t wait to hold you in my arms” and “I love you” followed by 12 heart emojis. Boyd added: “Night, night my gorgeous girlfriend.”

When the girl sent Boyd a photo of her face, he replied: “That looks nice. Love your lips. So kissable.”

At 11.49pm on July 29 last year, he messaged her: “I’ll dream about you. How soft your lips are for kisses.”

On August 5 last year, Boyd lifted the girl up, put his hands on her bottom, and kissed her, the court heard.

Boyd told her she was a “good kisser”, and added: “I’ll go to jail if you tell. I’m too old.”

The girl later tearfully told her mother about the attack. Sheriff John Mundy deferred sentence until next month for reports and placed Boyd on the sex offenders’ register.