Pervert pensioner caught out by sting

Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Selkirk Sheriff Court.

A pensioner sent sexual messages via social media to an undercover police officer thinking he was in conversation with a 13-year-old girl, Selkirk Sheriff Court has been told.

Philip McGill took part in an online chat stream on three separate dates with someone he believed to be a young girl called Kelly.

Despite being told on a number of occasions she was 13 and a schoolgirl, their 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.

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

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

A search warrant was obtained for McGill’s home in Bellfield Crescent, Eddleston.

Two mobile phones and a laptop were recovered, with one of the phones being identified as having been involved in the offending 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 handed over a letter from her outlining how the case had affected her.

McGill was put under supervision for three years and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work as part of a community payback order.

His name was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.