A sex offender who used the internet to prey on underage girls has been locked up for almost five years.
Brian Stewart appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to be sentenced yesterday having previously admitted 11 sex offences on seven young girls aged between 13 and 16.
The 19-year-old struck over a period of two years, using social networking sites such as Facebook to initiate conversations with his victims.
The court heard he would first ask the youngsters for their phone numbers, having struck up a relationship with his vulnerable victims online.
The chef would then bombard them with sexual text messages encouraging them to meet him. A number of the girls also sent him photos of themselves naked.
On one occasion, Stewart lured one of his victims into Mossy Woods in Rhynie and the Clova Estate in Lumsden so they could have sex.
Stewart had sex with two teenage girls. He also engaged in sexual activity with other teens in a variety of locations across Aberdeenshire, including Huntly Parish Church.
Stewart further admitted two charges of being in possession of indecent images of children.
The court heard Stewart, of 4 Sims Road, Rhynie, started committing the crimes when he was just 16. He was only discovered when a number of the girls’ parents found the communication on their phones and computers and informed the police.
An investigation was then launched and, after contacting everyone on his contact lists, officers discovered the extent of his crimes.
Yesterday Sheriff Annella Cowan jailed Stewart for four years and eight months branding him a “danger” to the public.
Last night Stewart’s solicitor, Charles Benzies, said his client had instructed him to start the process of appealing his sentence.
Mr Benzies said: “He would, first of all, like to apologise to all his young victims. He admitted to his crimes at the first opportunity so that they would not have to go through the process of giving evidence during trial.
“He was also very young when he committed the offences and there was not much between him and the ages of some of the complainers.
“He also comes across as a very immature young man who was maybe more on the wavelength of his victims than of someone his own age.
“This has been hanging over him for some time now. He lost his job as a chef as a result of this and he is very sorry for what he did.”