View Full Version : Predator escapes jail

16-Apr-14, 14:50
Internet messages could have been harmful to children states report before sheriff court

A SEXUAL predator, who posted indecent messages on the Facebook pages of girls as young as ten, escaped a jail sentence today.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Andrew Berry endorsed a background report observation, on David Macleod, 21, which stated that he had embarked on a premeditated strategy to gain access to his victims without a thought for the potential harm he could have inflicted on them, and would have been entitled to impose a custodial sentence.
Graphic material, including male genitals, were part of a series of four image or written messages he admitted sending from his computer between December 2012 and July 2013. Wick Sheriff Court was told that the shocking material came to light following discovery of messages by parents of the children who had received them.
David Barclay, prosecuting, told the court that in one case, a parent was checking what her daughter was receiving. On another occasion, a girl asked her mother how to delete items on her Facebook page and the parent decided to investigate the reason for the request.
The senior fiscal depute said that the girls had made it clear in their internet responses what their ages were and were aware that Macleod was “an older person”. Mr Barclay said that one of the graphic images was particularly “indecent and inappropriate” and unwelcome by the person who received it.
Macleod , of Dunbeath, told police he had sent the messages at random, because he was bored.
Ken Ferguson said that the accused had had a difficult childhood and was “clearly someone who has serious issues”. Appealing for a non-custodial sentence, the solicitor said that while prison was an option, Macleod, a first offender, was someone with lots of time on his hands and would benefit from applying it to a supervised programme of help in the community.
Sheriff Berry, who saw background reports, said that young children and their parents had to be protected from such inappropriate behaviour. The sheriff said that while prison was an option, there would be no follow up supervision after Macleod was released and no confidence that he would not re-offend.
One of the background reports highlighted a concern about the fact that the accused had clearly thought out a strategy to gain access to underage girls, “on a predatory, abusive and secretive basis to their detriment and had not stopped to think about the potential harm he could have caused them”.
The sheriff commented: “I could not have put it better myself.” Macleod was ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work in the community during a three-year period.
He is also banned from having contact with females under the age of 16, and won’t be able to access the internet, unless he is supervised , in both cases.
Macleod will also be required to enter his name on the Sex Offenders Register.