An Aberdeen barman who hunted underage girls for sex on Snapchat has been jailed for two years.
Richard Preston, 33, used the social media app to contact his victims – aged just 14 and 15 – before inviting them to his city centre flat for sex.
The 33-year-old, who Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told has a “high sex drive”, committed the offences “at a low point in his life”, his solicitor said.
The family of one of his victims welcomed the sentence, saying “a small measure of justice has been served”.
Fiscal depute Lynne MacVicar told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the first girl, aged 14, was contacted on Snapchat by Preston, who was using a pseudonym.
Father discovered incriminating messages
The girl made Preston aware of her age when they started to communicate but, undeterred, he invited her to meet for sex.
They met at Preston’s home on Union Grove on July 11 2022, where he showed her to the bedroom and told her to get undressed.
He then had sex with her before sending her home.
A second victim, a 15-year-old girl with autism, was identified when her father came across messages on her phone and contacted the police.
One of the conversations on Snapchat showed that Preston arranged to meet the girl at his address.
When police spoke to the child, she confirmed she had made Preston aware of her age, and that, at Preston’s instigation, she had sex with him.
Preston, of Union Grove, Aberdeen, pled guilty to two charges of, on at least one occasion, separately contacting the teenagers and making arrangements for them to come to his home.
He also admitted two charges of having sex with underage girls.
‘He was aware of the ages of the victims’
Defence agent Alex Burn said: “He has one previous conviction which is more or less analogous, although there’s no sex involved in that case.
“There’s no minimising his involvement in these activities.
“The position is, he stated, leading up to the offences he was at a low point in his life, lacking fulfilment, and things were not going well at work. He was bored.”
Mr Burn described his client as having a “high sex drive”, adding: “He met various women for sex through dating sites.”
He continued: “Mr Preston works as a barman and receives contact numbers from females to meet at some stage.
“He was aware of the ages of the victims and he takes full responsibility.
‘Perhaps some other little girls have been saved’
“He understands the law around the age of legal consent for sex and understands what he did was illegal.”
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood told Preston: “Conduct of this sort easily crosses the custodial threshold.
“I can see no reason not to impose one.”
The sheriff sentenced Preston to two years in prison.
He also placed him on the sex offenders register.
Following the court hearing, the family of one of the victims said: “Although we would have liked a longer sentence, we are glad that a small measure of justice has been served.
“Perhaps some other little girls have been saved from the ordeal that has faced his victims in this case. ”
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