A convicted Highland sex offender pretended to be a teenage boy so he could blackmail and rape a 13-year-old girl in a hotel room.
High-risk paedophile Joshua Pemberton struck in January 2022 despite earlier being freed from jail sentences for similar offences against youngsters.
The High Court in Glasgow was told that even after the rape, Pemberton tried to blackmail his young victim, despite her pleading: “Why are you trying to ruin my life? I am only 13.”
The 26-year-old had initially contacted his victim on social media while claiming to be just 14.
Pemberton went on to rape the girl at a hotel in Livingston, West Lothian, after first threatening to expose intimate photos of the teenager that he had duped her into sending.
Three other young girls were also victims of the predator – two he had illegal sex with and another he also hounded.
Contacted victim on social media
A judge heard how Pemberton had been monitored at the time by the Highland and Islands sex offender policing unit based in his hometown of Inverness.
He had initially been classed as a “high risk” when he was freed from prison in June 2020.
Pemberton had received jail terms in 2018 and 2019 for offences against five youngsters including trying to extort naked photos as well as threats to rape and drown one.
He is now back behind bars after pleading guilty to 17 charges at the High Court in Glasgow.
Prosecutor Chris Jones today narrated the circumstances of the sick crimes.
The young rape victim did not know Pemberton before he made contact online.
Mr Jones: “He used a false picture to misrepresent his appearance to her.
“The girl told him that she was 13. He told her that he was almost 15.”
Blackmailed girl into rape
They messaged on Snapchat and Pemberton went on to “repeatedly ask” for nude pictures. The girl was said to have “eventually relented”.
Pemberton later suggested meeting in Livingston – he also booked a room at a Travelodge in the town.
Mr Jones: “On seeing him, the girl did not recognise him.
“When he made himself known to her, she realised that he had been using a fake picture on social media and that he was older than he claimed to be.”
Pemberton almost immediately suggested going back to the hotel for sex.
The girl insisted she did not want to – but the pervert warned her he had “saved” intimate photos of her and “would send them to people she knew” unless she agreed to his sick demands.
‘Why are you trying to ruin my life? I am only 13’
Pemberton used his strength to rape the crying girl in the hotel room.
She eventually escaped his clutches and fled to the bathroom.
Mr Jones: “He told her he would not do anything to hurt her. She replied: ‘You already have – you have just raped me’.”
She managed to get out the hotel, still in tears. Despite what he had done, Pemberton contacted the child again, once more trying to blackmail her.
She pleaded: “Why are you trying to ruin my life? I am only 13.”
The court heard Pemberton also had sex with two other underage girls – aged 14 and 15 – after he “deceived them into thinking he was far younger than he was”.
Mr Jones said they were “badgered” as well into sending intimate photos of themselves.
A fourth girl – aged 13 – was not physically attacked, but was also preyed upon for pictures.
‘He apologises for the hurt that he has caused’
The crimes emerged after police learned Pemberton had been accessing indecent images of children in June 2022.
Two phones were seized which also revealed contact with the girls.
Mr Jones: “All of them reported that they would not have interacted with him had they been aware of his true age.”
The charges Pemberton admitted to included rape of one girl, underage sex with two more as well as voyeurism and threats made to the fourth.
His lawyer Shahid Latif today said: “He acknowledges that this offending is an escalation from what is set out in his previous convictions.
“He has asked me to state that he apologises for the hurt that he has caused.”
Lady Stacey remanded him in custody and deferred sentencing until next month.