A man who sexually abused a boy and preyed on children online has been jailed for more than 27 years.
Christopher Thompson, 26, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to child sexual exploitation offences.
Thompson is a depraved individual who sexually abused children online to fulfil his sexual fantasies.Det Con Kevin Byrne
Today he was sentenced at Teeside Crown Court to 27 years and eight months in prison.
Greater Manchester Police received a referral from NCA’s CEOP Command on July 9, 2013 after it was discovered Thompson had engaged in sexually explicit online chats with a 12-year-old boy over a social networking site called Tagged.
During these exchanges, indecent images were exchanged.
An employee of the social networking site became concerned and alerted the authorities in America, where the site was based.
The victim was traced to the Leigh area and Thompson, of North Road, Darlington, was identified as the offender.
He was arrested in County Durham on July 17, 2014 on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and released with strict bail conditions.
Thompson’s room was searched and police seized a number of items, including a laptop, a hard drive and a memory stick.
Upon forensic examination of the items, thousands of indecent images of children were recovered.
On May 19, 2015, Thompson was further arrested in Durham and remanded into custody, after he met an 11-year-old boy in a park, went with him to a garage and engaged in sexual acts with him.
Durham Constabulary launched an investigation and a mobile phone seized from Thompson after his arrest was found to contain indecent images of children.
Thompson was also investigated by South Wales Police and charged with further child sexual exploitation offences, after he incited a man from Cardiff to rape a four-year-old boy, which the man did, and sent the video to Thompson to view.
Det Con Kevin Byrne, of TITAN, the North West regional organised crime unit, said: “Firstly, I want to commend the victims for supporting our investigation, during what has been a difficult time. With their help, we have been able to ensure Thompson is behind bars and cannot prey on any more young boys.
“Thompson is a depraved individual who sexually abused children online to fulfil his sexual fantasies.
“He knew full well how young the boys he abused were when he began his offending, and even continued his horrific acts after he had been arrested.
“I hope today’s sentence demonstrates our commitment to pursuing sexual predators, no matter where they are or how long it takes.”