A depraved archaeologist tried to arrange sex with a 13-year-old girl while her mum watched.
Jason Hall even took a train armed with condoms and an Easter egg intended for his would-be victim with the hope of living out his sick fantasy.
Neither the woman nor her daughter were real and he was met at Chester station by police, the Liverpool Echo reports.
When they searched the home of the Liverpool University staff member they discovered a sick stash of more than 2,000 indecent images of children.
Liverpool Crown Court heard undercover officers set up a decoy profile of a woman calling herself Poppy on an adult website called Motherless.
Prosecutor Neil Bisarya said the fake account was contacted by Hall, 50, on March 26, 2018.
Poppy told Hall, of Liverpool, she was a mum-of-two with an eight-year-old son and a daughter aged 13, before two days later telling him she was interested in young teens.
Hall replied: "Lovely, about your girl's age?"
She agreed and told him her daughter was called Natalie before Hall said he would like to have sex with her and Poppy said she would like to be present.
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Their conversations continued on Skype and encrypted chat service qTox and in April that year, they discussed him coming to Chester.
Poppy sent the sicko two photos, supposedly of her and Natalie, before he sent one of himself in return.
In May they discussed him having sex with teenager Natalie.
Mr Bisarya said archaeology technician Hall sent her a photo of his erect penis when he was in the bath and said he wanted to have sex with her while her mum watched.
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After his arrest at Chester station, the prosecutor said his mobile phone was seized along with his rucksack, containing a packet of condoms with a recent receipt and a Twirl Easter egg.
Officers seized 17 items from his home – laptops, computers, hard drives and mobile phones – and found a transcript describing sex with a 12-year-old girl next to his bed.
The items revealed 102 Category A images – the worst category showing child rape – plus 271 Category B and 1,796 Category C images.
In total he had downloaded 2,169 child sex abuse images between September 2005 and May 2018, plus 13 animal porn files.
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He admitted arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to cause a child look at an image of sexual activity, three counts of downloading indecent images of children and possessing extreme porn.
Rebecca Smith, defending, said Hall knew he would receive a "lengthy" jail sentence and made admissions to police in a second interview after pleading no comment in the first.
Judge Anil Murray noted the "high disparity of age" between Hall and his intended victim alongside his "grooming behaviour".
He added: "The absence of a real victim does not reduce culpability."
Judge Murray jailed Hall for two years and eight months, of which he will serve half behind bars.
He also ordered him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.
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