Galashiels man caught in online child sex sting given three-year community payback order

A Borderer has been banned from accessing the internet without approval for three years after admitting engaging in indecent online communications with someone claiming to be a child.

Peter Mulvey, of Galashiels, pleaded guilty to that charge in April and was sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Wednesday, June 26.

He has been given a community payback order including a requirement that he does not access the internet by any means without prior approval from a supervising social worker.

He must disclose details of any devices he can access the internet on and must inform social workers of any friendships, associations or intimate or domestic relationships he forms.

He must also hand over the identities and contact information for anyone he communicates with either directly or indirectly and will be subject to sexual offenders’ notification requirements for three years.

Mulvey, 41, first appeared in court in December after being caught in an online sting at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool staged by a group set up to name and shame alleged sex offenders.

In February, he denied charges brought under section 34 of the 2009 Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, but he changed his plea to guilty before a scheduled trial in April.

Last month, the court heard Mulvey sent multiple messages to someone he thought was a young girl.

Sheriff Alison Stirling said: “It’s the same message again and again and again.

“It seems to me that it is almost as if he has got certain buttons that he presses.

“It’s the same thing which is repeated and repeated and repeated again in the messages.

“I am guessing he has not just typed that over again every time.”

She added that the competency of the charges against Mulvey had previously been questioned due to him “belatedly understanding that he was being duped”.

Mulvey’s defence lawyer, Robert More, called for a psychiatric assessment, saying: “It seems to me that a suggestion of autism or something along that spectrum is in keeping with what I have read in this case and with my dealings with the accused.”

Members of an organisation called Wolf Pack Hunters UK targeted Mulvey in an online confrontation live-streamed on its Facebook page in December, and the 23-minute video has since been viewed more than 93,000 times.

The vigilante group claims to expose alleged sex offenders by posing as children to lure people into meeting them and then films such encounters and shares them online with its 98,000 followers.