A DEPRAVED paedophile who convinced a vulnerable nine-year-old boy to take part in a sex act on the internet has been jailed for four years.
Robert Albion Margerum, 22, of Newton Close, Chester, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, September 27.
He admitted befriending a series of boys using Facebook before encouraging them to expose themselves during webcam chats.
He had 600 ‘friends’ on the social networking site, almost all of whom were boys aged 14-15.
Prosecuting, Peter Hussey said the victims included a 14-year-old from Yorkshire and a 10-year-old from Northumbria, who became frightened to go outside because he thought Margerum lived nearby.
Police took over the boy’s account and chatted with Margerum for three days, during which he talked about meeting for sex.
He was arrested and his laptop, memory stick, mobile phone and digital camera were seized. A total of 1,185 still images and videos were found.
Footage was found on the camera of a boy of around nine or 10 years old, who Margerum had convinced to perform a sex act on webcam while he filmed the screen. Police have yet to trace the victim.
While on bail, Margerum got a new laptop and contacted a 10-year-old boy from the West Midlands using the pseudonym ‘Connor Rawton’.
But the boy’s mother quickly discovered his attempts and Margerum was arrested and taken into custody.
Defending, James Bagby said: “He lives an isolated, lonely existence with little adult contact.
“He never intended to meet any of these boys but he has accepted he has a problem and wants to change.”
Judge Roger Dutton said Margerum posed a high risk to children, adding: “There was a level of sophistication, planning and determination to these offences.”
He sentenced Margerum to a total of four years imprisonment, less
89 days served, with a requirement to complete a sex offender treatment programme.
He also imposed a sexual offences prevention order which bans him from accessing the internet on any device capable of deleting the internet history, contacting under 18s and working with children.
He will also be on the sex offenders’ register for life.