Borders pensioner sent sex messages to undercover cop he believed to be a 13-year-old girl

Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Selkirk Sheriff Court.

A pensioner sent sexual messages via social media to an undercover police officer thinking they were going to a 13-year-old girl, Selkirk Sheriff Court has been told.

Philip McGill engaged in an online chatstream on three separate dates with someone he believed to be a young female called Kelly.

Despite being told on several occasions that she was 13 and a schoolgirl, the chat was described as “sexualised”, with the 70-year-old asking her about her school uniform and underwear.

The messages also contained details of acts he said he would like to carry out with her.

McGill was actually in conversation with an undercover officer from Police Scotland’s cybercrime unit after it received a report in January about online communications from his mobile phone number, however.

He pleaded guilty to intentionally sending written communications to a child under 16 and engaging in sexualised conversation with her via social media between July 5 and 11 last year.

Depute fiscal Tessa Bradley said that a search was carried out of McGill’s home in Bellfield Crescent, Eddleston, near Peebles, and two mobile phones and a laptop were seized, with one of the phones identified as having been involved in the online conversations.

McGill told police he recalled the username of the girl he thought was called Kelly but not the content of their conversations.

Defence lawyer Mark Harrower said his client lived with his wife and put forward a letter from her outlining how the case had affected her.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond called for a criminal justice social work report to be prepared and deferred sentence until July 30.

McGill was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years initially, with the actual fixed period to be determined when he is sentenced next month.