Philip Crabtree, 35, from Stoke-on-Trent, was part of a sick ring who shared child abuse images and videos from the UK, US and Canada
A British paedophile who watched the horrific rape of a six-year-old boy via a livestream has been jailed for almost nine years.
Philip Crabtree, 35, from Stoke-on-Trent, was part of a sick ring who shared child abuse images and videos from the UK, US and Canada.
Crabtree was caught after police identified users online and officers raided his home, uncovering hundreds of indecent images of children.
He admitted a string of child sex crimes and was jailed for eight years and eight months at Stoke on Trent Crown Court.
Prosecutor Charlotte Newell told the court a legitimate conference platform called Zoom was used by paedophiles to share their sick fantasies.
Crabtree – who has no previous convictions – was active on the site between July and December 2015 and regularly changed his user name in a failed bid to avoid detection.
Miss Newell said: ‘Sexual exploitation of children was routine. He was identified as being present on numerous occasions including when live abuse of a six-year-old child was screened from the U.S.
‘He was seen to perform sex acts on himself while child exploitation material was screened.’
Crabtree was arrested on December 30, 2015 after his phone and laptop was seized from his bedroom and were found to contain 890 child abuse images and movies – including 87 in the most serious category.
He plead guilty to encouraging or assisting in the commission of one or more offences; eight offences of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence and three charges of making indecent photographs of children.
Catherine O’Reilly, mitigating, said the defendant suffers from depression and anxiety.
She said: ‘He sought refuge on the internet, in the darkest of places. He bitterly regrets that decision. It was pretty much the only contact he was having. It became very difficult for him to break that cycle.
Crabtree admitted a string of child sex crimes and was jailed for eight years and eight months at Stoke on Trent Crown Court
‘He was taking medication, drinking heavily and becoming more embroiled in something that was giving him contact and some support. It was a mad time in his life and he got sucked into a particular way of behaviour.’
Judge Paul Glenn made Crabtree the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and he will be on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
He was also barred from a range of activities involving children and vulnerable adults.
Judge Glenn said: ‘You and other like-minded paedophiles misused a legitimate application for your own purposes.
‘The most serious count involved live abuse over a significant period of a six-year-old boy by an adult male from the U.S.A.
‘On occasions you were seen performing a sex act on camera.
‘By accessing the material you were encouraging the distributing and showing of these illegal images.
‘These were real children being abused for the entertainment of people such as you. These children will be irreparably damaged. People viewing the images encourage the perpetrators but you went a lot further than that.’
Crabtree will be eligible for parole after serving half the custodial sentence.