A PAEDOPHILE tried to get a teenage girl to watch him perform sex acts.

Paul Phillips, from Basildon, was snared by paedophile hunters after messaging what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl.

The 58-year-old began messaging the online profile in March 2018.

He believed it to be a girl named Sophia but it was in fact was an adult undercover.

Phillips made repeated attempts to get the teenage girl to watch videos of him performing sex acts, and then also encouraged her to perform sex acts on herself.

These messages lasted months until Phillips was reported to the police and the chat logs passed over to them.

He was arrested and later charged with seven counts of child sex abuse, including attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, and attempts to incite a child into sexual activity knowing they were underage.

He was also charged with possessing an indecent image of a child in Category A – the most serious kind – and an image of extreme animal pornography involving a cat.

Phillips, of Amberdon Road, Basildon, appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He dressed in a grey jacket and shirt with dark glasses, and sat in the dock with his head bowed for most of the hearing.

He spoke only to confirm his name, age and nationality and enter guilty pleas to all charges.

He was released on bail and is set to be sentenced the week beginning February 17.

Judge Andrew Hurst told Phillips: “You have pleaded guilty to various offences. Just because there wasn’t a real child involved doesn’t take away from the seriousness of the offending.

“The court needs to know more about you and how likely you are to reoffend again. I make no promises about the sentence that will be passed.”