Online Essex paedophile ring member jailed for two years

Matt De Vere Image copyright PA
Image caption Matt De Vere's offending spanned November 2015 to June 2016

A man who was part of a paedophile ring which shared images of children being raped has been jailed.

Police found 3,455 indecent images on devices owned by Matt De Vere, including ones of children abused while they appeared to be drugged or asleep.

De Vere, of Southview Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, admitted 13 offences including distributing and making indecent images of children.

The 34-year-old was jailed for two years at Chelmsford Crown Court.

De Vere, who used the name "Max Thunder" online, also admitted encouraging others to share images and possession of extreme pornography, which the court heard was largely bestiality.

Sentencing him, Judge Patricia Lynch said: "It's because of your actions that more vulnerable children are going to be filmed as the demand for this sort of filth increases."

The online ring, which used Skype and Zoom to share images and videos, was discovered by undercover police in the United States and Canada and some offenders were traced to the UK.

'Anonymity of internet'

Police arrested De Vere, a deputy pub manager, and found the images on five electronic devices including an iPad and smartphone.

Christopher Martin, mitigating, said De Vere was "disgusted with himself", had admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity and was seeking help.

Punam Chopra, from the CPS, said: "Matt De Vere used what he believed was the anonymity of the internet to distribute distressing images of children and to encourage others to share them with him, including ones depicting the horrific abuse of a baby.

"He used legitimate conferencing software to share and receive these images and it is clear from the messages exchanged that he took pleasure in viewing child abuse."

An indefinite sexual harm prevention order was made, De Vere's electronic devices confiscated and he was barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

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