Published: 06:00, 27 July 2021
| Updated: 14:41, 27 July 2021
A man used his love of Japanese cartoons to groom a 12-year-old girl before claiming to be a "hero" exposing paedophiles.
Fantasist Adam Eltabib - who appeared in a crown court dock sporting bright pink and green hair - had met the schoolgirl at a convention for fans of anime, cosplay and comics in London in 2018.
Her mother began to notice a number of texts the child was receiving from the 30-year-old, who was later found with 3,000 indecent images on his computer.
Eltabib, of Eden Avenue, Chatham, has now been sent to prison for a year after admitting having sexual conversations with a child and two charges of making prohibited images.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how Eltabib is a fantasist who said he was a "hero" who was downloading vile pictures to bring down those who took them.
But Judge Philip Statman rejected as "fanciful" the claim that he was "a citizen trying to bring others to justice".
He said: "The nature of your conversations has, as a background, conventions held around the country by supporters of anime and cosplay, which allow people to go dressed as their favourite Japanese (cartoon) characters."
Prosecutor Kathryn Hirst said: "The victim attended an event in London dressed as her favourite anime character.
"After returning home she showed her mum pictures of her posing with people also dressed as anime characters and it appeared that she had had a really good time."
Afterwards the victim's mother became aware of "inappropriate messages" which had been sent to her daughter from a man called Adam.
She asked to see a photograph and realised Adam was an adult and explained to her daughter that the WhatsApp messages were not appropriate.
Ms Hirst told how police began investigating Eltabib for unrelated matters and he was arrested at his work.
She said that when officers carried out a forensic examination of his phone they discovered images and details of chats he was having with the child, including references to sex.
Between February and November 2018 he sent WhatsApp messages saying he wanted to have sex with her when she was 16.
During a sentencing hearing that was interrupted by a suspected gas leak, the judge heard that the effect on his victim had been "deeply upsetting" and her health suffered because of it.
"A young girl was being asked in these texts to confront adult issues and you took advantage of her expressing your sexual desires," he added.
Eltabib had used the name of an anime character known to stalk and spy on women.
On his Facebook he wrote: "Live in Medway. I (love) cosplay and have a long list of comic cons this year. Wish I could do more. Love anime. Gaming. The usual."