A convicted paedophile has been jailed after being caught by vigilante hunters and said 'only death will cure' his sexual interest in children.

Alan Cherry, 64, of Rainhill, Merseyside, was confronted outside his home and has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison.

The court heard that the sexagenarian confessed to sending sexual messages to two ‘girls’ he thought were aged 12 and 13, Liverpool Echo reports.

He said: "I have a problem, there is no cure for me. The only way I can be cured is if I'm not alive."

Cherry has twice previously been convicted of sexual offences and last year was jailed for eight months.

He was first caught having sex chats with an undercover police officer, who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, in 2017.

When his home was raided, a stash of indecent images – including children as young as three – was discovered.

He was handed a three-year community order, so he could attend a sex offenders treatment programme, in 2018.

However, in October 2019 he was back online, using Kik Messenger to send photos of his penis to a decoy profile of a girl aged 14, created by paedophile hunters.

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Cherry was jailed for eight months and hit with a new five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) in March 2020.

In July this year, a member of the group "Shatter the Silence" created a fake profile of a 13-year-old girl called Isla, on the dating app Tagged.

Cherry asked if she had seen boys' "willies" or her dad's penis and what size her breasts were.

Prosecuting barrister Jamie Baxter said Cherry also asked whether she did "naughty stuff" with boys and would like to see their "willies", and when she said "no", told her she should.

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Another member of Shatter the Silence created a second decoy profile, Darcy, who Cherry started talking to on August 1.

She said she was 12 but he asked her about "willies", whether she knew where they went and whether she had seen her mum naked.

Another paedophile hunters group, Fleetwood Enforcers, went to see Cherry on August 12, where they filmed his confession on Facebook Live before calling the police.

Mr Baxter said: "He said he tried to stop but couldn't help himself."

The court heard Cherry's sex offender manager also visited him when he admitted talking to someone who told him they were 13.

Cherry pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and one count of attempting to breach an SHPO.

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Jonathan Keane, defending, said: "He's a lonely, isolated man and the report does note he hasn't had a partner for over 20 years."

Mr Keane said rather than seeking help for his problems, Cherry had engaged in this behaviour, but he had since told him he was "sorry" and "how disgusted he is by his actions".

Recorder Heather Williams, QC, said the messages were "overtly sexual messages that were wholly inappropriate" and if they had been received by a girl of that age, "it could have been extremely damaging for her".

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