A paedophile posed as a woman who was abusing her own seven-year-old daughter in order to ‘catfish’ other perverts into sending him child abuse images.
Stuart Sargent, of Albert Road, Southend, set up a fake account on messaging app Kik, using a female friend’s profile photo. He then sent innocent images of her little girl to other men.
The 32-year-old was jailed for three years at Basildon Crown Court after going on to share more than 100 vile photos and movies of sexual abuse involving other children.
Sargent told his online friends that “any age” was appropriate for children to have sex with adults.
Police arrived at his home on June 8, where he opened the door still clutching a mobile phone and a tablet device after sending a message just 20 minutes beforehand.
He told officers: “It’s about the emails isn’t it? They are on my tablet, my wife doesn’t know about it.”
Sargent admitted possessing 139 of the most serious category A images, which showed adults raping children as young as four.
He also admitted possession of 211 category B images, which involved children as young as two
Further charges related to the possession of 134 category C images and 34 extreme images involving animals.
Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, told the court Sargent used search terms such as “incest”, “bestiality” and “indecent images of children” while using the web.
But the most serious charges involved the sharing of 114 images with ten other Kik users.
Miss Davison said: “He claimed to have a young daughter and used further photographs of his Facebook friend and her daughter in order to continue with his portrayal of himself as being a female user of Kik with a seven-year-old daughter.
“During the conversations he said he had abused his own daughter and said that some of the images being sent were of abuse being carried out by himself.”
Catfishing is a term used to describe setting up a fake online profile to fool other users.
Sargent also dished out advice to online perverts about using the dark web, child abuse websites and social media, claiming: “It does help if you are a girl.”
In one message, Sargent said: “What I would like is some kiddie porn”. He then went on to describe images showing mothers and sons as “awesome” and in reply to images he received, he said: “They are all good, but I want younger”.
In total, Sargent shared 72 category images, 27 category B and 15 category images over a five week period.
Jailing him for three years for ten counts of distribution, plus a 12 month concurrent sentence for possession, Judge Samantha Leigh said Sargent was “high risk” and his behaviour was “worrying in the extreme”.
She said: “Every time one of these images is shared that child has been abused again. How these children live with that God only knows.”