A PERVERT who encouraged chat room users to rape a child has been jailed.

Matthew Barrie James Douglas also engaged in lengthy private conversations with others in online chat rooms urging them to commit serious sexual assaults on children.

He was finally caught by an undercover police officer who had gained his trust by posing as a paedophile online.

The offences took places over 12 months, starting in 2017, but Douglas admitted to having had inclinations of this sort for the last 10 years, and said he had been viewing explicit images since the age of 13.

He was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to making indecent images and videos of a child, one count of distributing indecent images of a child, and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

At Preston Crown Court, prosecutor Joe Allman said: “The defendant admitted to exchanging images of children, which arose after an undercover officer, who was posing as a like-minded individual in a chat room, had gained the trust of Mr Douglas.”

Douglas, 31, was arrested in October and told officers he had been waiting a long time to be caught.

He admitted he had had a ‘serious problem’ for a number of years and in the previous 12 months had used around 20 fake online accounts to try to engage with others.

When police seized his mobile devices they found more than 13 images that were explicitly sexual in nature, including one featuring a girl under 10.

READ > Man brutally tortured before death at hands of drug dealer, court told *Warning: Graphic content

Defending, Barbara Webster said: “My client maintains his guilty pleas and made a number of admissions in his initial interview. He has no previous convictions and when he was arrested admitted he was ashamed, said he was truly sorry and remorseful for his actions, and accepted he had a problem that needed to be addressed.”

As well as the four years’ jail time, Douglas, of Highfield Road, Blackburn, was given a further two years’ extended licence period. Judge Heather Lloyd made Douglas subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and told him to sign the sex offenders register for life.