A 49-year-old father has had his name put on the sex offenders’ register for sending messages to a 13-year-old girl arranging to meet for unlawful sexual activity.
Stewart Samson made arrangements to travel more than 100 miles to the Borders to meet the schoolgirl knowing she was under 16 years of age, Selkirk Sheriff Court heard.
He was given a three-year community payback order involving supervision and 120 hours’ unpaid work too.
Samson, said to have a partner and a nine-year-old daughter, is also banned from having unsupervised contact with children under 18 and must get permission from his supervising officer if he wants to travel outwith his home county of Angus.
The court heard how Samson connected with the girl on social media, initially saying she was 16, and he soon made it clear his interest in her was a sexual one.
He even travelled more than 100 miles from his home in Forfar to the Borders to see her and was spotted in various locations in Galashiels and Selkirk, but they did not meet.
The girl then told Samson, 48 at the time, she had a birthday coming up, causing him to suspect that she might be only 15, but he still told her that he would travel to meet her but would only go as far as a kiss.
He was caught when the 13-year-old’s mother went through her phone and found their conversations and contacted the police.
Samson pleaded guilty to a charge of having communicated with a girl under the age of 16 and made arrangements to meet her intending to engage in unlawful sexual activity, and attempting to meet her.
He admitted contravening section one of the 2005 Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, an offence carrying a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
The court was told that the girl was 13 at the time of the offence last November and that she was young-looking for her age and extremely shy.
Police officers visited Samson’s home in Sir James Duncan Gardens in Forfar on January 4 and he was taken to police headquarters in Dundee for questioning.
Defence lawyer Greg McDonnel said his client was a first offender and pointed out that there had been no contact between the pair.
He added Stewart had a good work record but had lost his job as a result of this offence.
Sheriff David Clapham said it was a serious offence but took into account the time Stewart will be committed to attending supervised meetings of a sex offenders’ project.
Stewart’s name will be on the sex offenders’ register for three years.