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Sick stalker unmasked after victim tracks him down on WhatsApp

Dylan Waugh.
Dylan Waugh.

A sinister stalker who targeted random women online for years was snared when his victims joined forces on social media.

Dylan Waugh targeted four women with a campaign of unwanted sexual messages on social media and “creepy” obscene phone calls.

He also took nearly 1,000 secret photographs of women’s bottoms at locations across Peterhead, include the town’s Asda superstore.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told the 22-year-old persistently sent sexual messages and sexual images of himself, without showing his face.

Fiscal depute Felicity Merson said the first woman started receiving “unwanted sexualised messages” from a number of Snapchat and Instagram accounts when she was around 15, in December 2013, and it continued until December 2019.

It was apparent they were from the same person as the male who was performing sex acts had a distinctive birthmark.

As she grew older the sick images became more frequent.

Victim turned to Facebook for help

Mrs Merson said: “These pictures would be accompanied by sexual remarks about parts of her body and remarks about various sexual acts he wished to perform, using crude, sexualised language.”

Waugh also asked for “items of worn clothing”, including leggings and underwear, and requested a video chat for sexual purposes.

Whenever she blocked an account, another would be used instead.

In November 2019 she received 20 “silent” calls from a withheld number, consisting of heavy breathing and moaning.

It was then she turned to Facebook, asking users if anyone else had had similar experiences – and discovered the other complainers.

A second woman was the target of similar conduct from Waugh between July 2015 and March 2019, starting when she was just 14.

She was sent images from her Facebook page along with sexual remarks, including one asking “how much” it would cost to have sex with her.

Around 2019 she started to received images of a male with his face hidden performing a sex act, and also received a similar “silent” call, which she found “particularly creepy” as her number was not widely known.

Between April 2019 and April 2020, Waugh targeted a third woman with similar behaviour, with up to 14 calls being made from a withheld number in one night.

If she answered she heard sounds thought to be a male performing a sex act.

Over a four-day period in March 2020 she received 98 such calls from random or withheld numbers.

Some were from numbers of some of her contacts, with Waugh seemingly using “some form of manipulation or disguising application to achieve this”.

She was also sent pictures of herself from social media, with Waugh commenting how much her appearance “sexually excited him”.

Waugh also sent her a picture of his private parts.

The breakthrough – and stalker unmasked

A fourth woman was targeted between April 2019 and May 2020, receiving similar images and 87 silent calls.

She too posted on Twitter about her frustration, and a reply to that directed her to the first woman’s Facebook post.

The breakthrough came when the woman contacted her service provider and was able to obtain a number that had been withheld when phoning her.

When she put the number into Whatsapp she found a profile photo of Waugh.

Subsequent police inquiries established all the withheld number calls had come from Waugh’s number.

He was arrested in May 2020 and officers examined his phone and laptop.

Mrs Merson said: “Initial checks of the phone revealed numerous images of clothed females, focusing on their buttocks, and it appeared the females would not have known the photos were being taken.”

CCTV checks at Asda in Peterhead, where Waugh worked, showed him “apparently covertly taking photos of females on his phone”.

Secret photos and indecent images

Three women were identified and confirmed they did not consent to the pictures being taken. Two said they were “shocked and disgusted” and a third “felt physically sick”.

More than 900 photos of clothed, adult female buttocks were found on Waugh’s phone, taken at the store and other locations in Peterhead.

A total of 22 indecent images of children were also found, the majority of which were category C, the least serious. They showed girls aged 7 to 13.

Waugh, of Lingbank Close, Peterhead, pled guilty to four charges of stalking, one of taking, permitting to be taken or making indecent images or pseudo images of children, and another of breach of the peace.

Defence agent Sam Milligan said the offending started when his client was just 15 years old.

He said Waugh had co-operated entirely with a social work report, had expressed contrition and had not sought to “alight responsibility”.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin imposed a community payback order as a direct alternative to custody.

She ordered him to be supervised for three years, complete the Moving Forward, Making Changes programme and 150 hours of unpaid work.

She also imposed a conduct requirement banning him from possessing devices capable of accessing the internet without permission, as well as ordering him to make any devices available for inspection and not to delete history or messages.

The sheriff further imposed a nine-month curfew, a four-year non-harassment order in respect of all the women, and made him subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act for three years.

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