A Wirral man who raped and sexually abused a five-year-old boy was put behind bars indefinitely.

A judge told Steven Sutton, "You are a predatory paedophile" and said his behaviour was "evil in the extreme."

Liverpool Crown Court that he has previous sex abuse convictions involving a 10-year-old boy and grooming other boys.

Sentencing 53-year-old Sutton, who admitted a string of offences against the five-year-old, Judge Brian Lewis said, "It is difficult to imagine a more depraved course of conduct against a completely innocent child."

He said that the boy had not appreciated the horror of what was happening to him but maybe in the future he will and it may affect him for the rest of his life.

"Given the nature of these offences and your attitude towards them and your previous history you are and will remain for some time a significant risk of serious harm to the public."

He ordered that Sutton, of Greenway Road, Birkenhead, serve at least five years before he can apply for parole but warned him not to expect that he would then be released.

He also ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from unsupervised contact with boys under 16.

He had pleaded guilty to three specimen offences of rape, one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and six specimen offences of sexual assault and engaging in sexual activity.

Robert Jansen, prosecuting, told the court that the offences came to light after the boy told his mother what Sutton had done to him.

The child then said he was joking but she pursued her inquiries and this led to Sutton admitting what the boy said was true and he voluntarily handed himself into Birkenhead police station.

When interviewed Sutton initially denied having sexual feelings for the child but eventually admitted it had been for his sexual gratification.

Bearnice Campbell, defending, said, "The defendant hates himself and the act and thinks he is worthless. He went to the police station and filled in the gaps."

He had been thinking of killing himself but thought that was not right as the family of the boy would want to see him punished, she said.

He had tried to get help for his problem when previously in jail but the sentence was not long enough and this time he wanted a longer sentence so he could get help, added Miss Campbe