A Lincoln man who encouraged a 12-year-old boy to strip after pretending to be a female university student during their online conversations was today jailed for six years.
Anthony Hayward, 33, also admitted taking 27 photographs of another young boy, whose mother told the court she believed her son’s “innocence had been taken away.”
The images were found after police executed a search warrant at Hayward’s then home in Woodhall Drive, Lincoln, during March last year.
Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said: “They were expecting to find indecent images of children and in due course they did.
“Six devices, a hard drive and various discs were recovered, and all were found to contain indecent images.”
Lincoln Crown Court heard 280 images in the most serious Category of A were recovered, with 297 in Category B and 637 in Category C.
Miss Pritchard added: “In the main they were still images, with some videos, and were of boys aged between one and seven.
“In some they were clearly distressed and tied up.”
Hayward also admitted possessing a small number of extreme images and distributing eight indecent images of children using the Kick app.
Further interrogation of Hayward’s computer showed he had posed as female university student called Sam during sexualised MSN conversations with a 12-year-old boy.
Miss Pritchard said: “In fact it wasn’t a female called Sam, it was the defendant.”
During the conversations Hayward claimed his own Webcam wasn’t working to protect his own identity and encouraged the boy to strip and masturbate himself.
Police also discovered Hayward had himself taken 27 photographs of another vulnerable young boy, including one of him naked.
In a moving victim impact statement, which the boy’s mother read out in court, she said she believed her son’s innocence had been taken away.
She told the court: “It makes me feel sick to the stomach and does not go away that he has taken photos of my son, a young and innocent boy.”
Michael Cranmer-Brown, mitigating, said Hayward had been frank during his interview and throughout the proceedings, admitting he had an engrained problem.
Mr Cranmer-Brown added: “He recognises he needs help and intervention to assist him.”
Hayward, now of Princess Street, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one charge of taking Category C photos of a child, two charges of distributing indecent images of children, three charges of possessing indecent images of children, and one charge of possessing extreme pornography.
Passing sentence Recorder Gareth Evans QC told Hayward: “You were a man who preyed on young children.”
The Recorder added: “You had a very unhealthy appetite for young boys.”
Hayward will also have to register as a Sex Offender for life and was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.