An Irvine man who used the name "Nappyhead" in twisted online chat rooms has been jailed for downloading images of babies being sexually abused and tortured. 

Richard Howard, a talented darts player who competed under the name Ragdoll, was caught with over 1,500 illegal files at his home that he shared with other paedophiles online.

And, when arrested over the stash, he told police he was addicted to child porn, Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard.

Howard pleaded guilty to charges of making indecent images of children by downloading them, possessing them and sharing them with other paedophiles.

The 34-year-old was caught with a total of 1,513 indecent images of children.

Of his haul, 162 pictures and 92 films were the most extreme there is.

He committed the offences at addresses in Robertson Place, Kilmarnock, and Dickson Drive, Irvine, between April 2013 and November last year.

His innocent flatmate was also detained when he was arrested but Howard, who had since moved to Catrine, admitted he was the only guilty party, telling officers: "He had nothing to do with it. The images and the videos are on my phone."

Police seized his Samsung mobile which, when examined, revealed he had looked at images showing the "abuse of babies and toddlers."

He admitted he had been looking at indecent pictures for around three years, including images of babies and toddlers being abused, and had visited chatrooms, where users offered to share images, under the username ‘nappyhead’.

The court heard the children being abused in his stash of illegal files were aged under three and that he was "actively involved in searching for images of children being abused."

Sheriff Alistair Watson previously warned Howard he faced jail for the offence as he deferred sentence for background reports, telling him: "These images are at the worse end of this.

"It seems clear you have specifically searched for images of the abuse and torture of babies and very young children.

"I am considering that a custodial sentence may be necessary in this case."

And, when Howard returned to the dock this week to learn his fate, the sheriff ruled that was the only way he could deal with Howard.

After hearing he was single, had been disowned by his family and lost his job because of the offences, and had been assessed by social workers as being a medium to high risk of reoffending, Sheriff Watson jailed him.

As he caged him for 14 months, the sheriff said: "This was a disgusting course of coduct taken by you.

"Sharing images and films of infants being sadistically abused.

"There can only be one sentence in this instance and that is a sentence of imprisonment."

He told Howard he would also be supervised by social workers for two years upon his release from prison and placed him on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

He also made him the subject of a strict Sexual Offences Prevention Order which limits his freedom for the next five years. 

Howard, who has grown his hair long and now sports a beard, showed no emotion as he was led away to begin his sentence and had taken a bag with him to court, expecting to be jailed.