A predatory pervert who had explicit sex chats with two 10-year-old boys has been warned that he faces a lifetime in custody if he continues to offend.
Imposing a four-and-a-half-year sentence on Michael McCollum, Judge Melody McReynolds warned the 21-year-old, who already has two sets of relevant convictions including one for a serious sexual assault, that if he committed more offences "there's every likelihood ... that will drive a dangerous assessment".
"The net effect of that is that you would be looking at a very long time, if not your entire life, in custody," said the Antrim Crown Court Judge who suggested that instead "you view this as a crossroads and knuckle down on your release".
Ordering McCollum to spend 18 months of his sentence in custody and the remaining three years on licence, Judge McReynolds said given his previous convictions, "your life will be very closely controlled."
At an earlier hearing McCollum, from Curragh Hill in Carnlough, pleaded guilty to a total of 17 sex offences all committed on various dates between December 31, 2018 and March 1, 2019.
Prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher told the court how the PSNI was alerted to McCollum's sickening online activities by Lancashire police.
The English force had been contacted by the parents of two 10-year-old boys after they discovered that a man with the moniker "almost there 19" had befriended them and chatted to them via Instagram.
"Sexually graphic cartoon picture messages had been sent along with sexual communication where the male involved had masturbated via video chat with a boy and had actively encouraged both boys to perform sexual acts on themselves so that he could watch," said the lawyer.
Lancashire police were able to trace the IP address to McCollum's home in Carnlough which was then raided by the PSNI who seized numerous electronic devices. They discovered the indecent images during their examination.
McCollum told police "he had no friends or support at home" so he had gone online and met the boys.