A SICK pervert filmed himself raping a baby and sexually assaulting a toddler in order to join an exclusive online club for paedophiles.

Over a six month period Tashan Gallagher filmed himself abusing the children, including one when she was just three months old, and distributed the film clips to the group via encrypted messaging app Telegram.

But the National Crime Agency came across the films, managed to trace them back to Gallagher and arrested him in October last year.

“He said he did not have a sexual interest in children but gained gratification by communicating with others who did,” Juliet Berry, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court.

She added that Gallagher wanted to join a paedophile organisation which was limited to 1,000 members but in order to gain admittance he had to upload original videos of children being abused.

After filming himself sexually assaulting a three-month-old girl he posted the 14 second film but then deleted the app.

“He said he regretted his actions and deleted the app to that particular site,” said Miss Berry. But a month later he raped the baby and uploaded the footage to rejoin the club before deleting it again.

Gallagher rejoined, uploading more films of him abusing the baby and a two-year-old boy, on three further occasions.

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Judge Timothy Stead jailed Gallagher for 14 years with a further year on licence.

"It is rare to have the maker of indecent images in court," said the judge. “Words to describe the vile nature of this offending are wholly inadequate."

He commented that, despite the best efforts of the authorities, the videos of the “repugnant” abuse remain in circulation around the world for other paedophiles to download, view and share.

Members of the children’s family sobbed in the public gallery as details of Gallagher’s crimes were outlined.

The court heard the children were not physically injured and Miss Berry added: “We hope the children will have no recollection of these events.”

In a victim impact statement read out in court the children’s mother said: “I was absolutely shocked and devastated when I found out what he had been doing. I don’t think I will ever get over this.”

Judge Stead stressed: “Nothing I have read in this case suggests to me that the mother of the children is in any way to blame for what happened."

Gallagher admitted his guilt, but after appearing in court earlier this year the National Crime Agency were contacted by their American counterparts who had discovered a fifth video he had uploaded.

In total Gallagher, of Etherstone Street, Leigh, pleaded guilty to rape, three counts of sexual assault, one of assault by penetration, five counts of making indecent images, two of distributing indecent images of children and two of possessing indecent images of children.

Paul Treble, defending, said Gallagher, who had a difficult childhood, had been “disgusted” by his own behaviour.

“It had all the hallmarks of addiction,” he said, adding that while in prison awaiting sentence Gallagher has been taking courses to address his behaviour.

Mr Treble told how Gallagher had a “very confused and upsetting upbringing”.

“He was struggling with his sexuality and what had happened to him at the hands of others,” said Mr Treble.

The court heard how the abuse of the children followed a time when Gallagher’s long term relationship had broken up and he had lost his job and home.

He has no previous convictions for similar offences, but in 2004, he received a police caution for indecency with a man in a public toilet.

Gallagher was placed on the sex offenders' register and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for life.

Speaking after the hearing the children's mother said:" I am satisfied wit the length [of the sentence] but I feel like it could have been a bit longer."

Graham Ellis, National Crime Agency operations manager said: “Tashan Gallagher has been convicted of some truly incomprehensible, horrific crimes.

“His escalation of offending is very frightening; going from viewing abuse images to sexually abusing children, recording it and posting it online so he could join a private group.

“These forums incite offenders to increase their offending and are at the epicentre of online child sexual abuse.

“Gallagher represents where law enforcement needs to be, targeting the highest risk, most dangerous offenders using covert and specialist capabilities as required.

“The NCA will continue to work with our partners, at home and abroad, to ensure those who abuse children are brought to justice."

To help prevent online child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE), the NCA wants to see industry make progress in the following areas:

• Child sexual abuse material should be blocked as soon as companies detect it being uploaded;

• Companies must stop online grooming taking place on their platforms;

• Companies must work with government and law enforcement to stop live streaming of child abuse;

• Companies should help law enforcement agencies to deal with child sexual exploitation (including collaboration between offenders);

• We expect to see improved openness and transparency and a willingness to share best practice and technology between companies; and

• CSAE sites must no longer be supported by advertising.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Gallagher’s horrendous catalogue of crimes against his victims shows how dangerous he is to children. The impact of the offences on his victims will be far-reaching and long term, and although he is subject to a 15 year sentence those children will face a lifetime of recovery.

“These offences illustrate what we always emphasise – that child abuse images are never a victimless crime. Not only did Gallagher abuse children, but he also helped fuel demand for a depraved industry that is destroying the lives of children in this country and around the world.”