Jo Goodwin, of Pope Lane, Penwortham, Preston, was caught when it emerged youngster ‘Kate’ was an undercover police officer.
The investigator posted a message on the Kick friend finder site and within 50 minutes the 19-year-old, using the name “Mr Humperdinckle” and a profile picture of his private parts, responded.
Bungling Goodwin, who lied he was called “Dom”, inadvertently revealed his name, mobile number and landline number as he encouraged the fictional youngster to commit lewd acts over the Skype website.
The Lancaster University student appeared panicky and close to tears at Preston Crown Court and at one point interrupted the proceedings as explicit details of the case were read before relatives in the public gallery.
Joe Allman, prosecuting, said: “During the conversation the officer told Mr Goodwin she was 12. He replied: “That’s OK, age doesn’t matter’.
He added he made several suggestions to meet, tried to persuade her to lie to her mum she was going swimming, encouraged her to send lewd pictures and sent pictures and videos of himself performing an act on himself.
Goodwin admitted five counts of attempting to arrange or facilitate an act which would involve the commission of a sexual offence, three of intentionally attempting to cause or incite a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, and must sign the sex offender’s register.
Defending, Darren Lee Smith said: “ He is supported in court by his family. You will have gathered from their reaction their disgust to these offences.”
Judge Robert Altham said: “ One simply cannot ignore the fact there needs to be a deterrent effect of sentences such as this. People who trawl the internet looking for young children to abuse must be made to understand that for them, the internet is a dangerous place.”