An Inverness man who wrote sexual messages to a woman who was pretending to be a 13-year-old girl has been spared a jail sentence.
Instead, 52-year-old Steven Williams, of Galloway Drive, was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid community work, and participate in a sex offender’s rehabilitation programme.
Sheriff Margaret Neilson also instructed Williams to remain under social work supervision and on the Sex Offender’s Register for three years.
Inverness Sheriff Court was previously told that a vigilante gang of paedophile hunters had enticed Williams to communicate with what he thought was a young girl.
But it was actually a 38-year-old member of the group “Guardians of the North”.
Defence solicitor Marc Dickson said: “My client lives an isolated lifestyle and a problematic alcohol consumption played a role.
“He accepts the whole situation was inappropriate but the sexualised messaging took place when he was disinhibited by alcohol.”
The court heard that Williams didn’t write many explicit communications between July 8, 2018 and November 20, 2018.
But he asked for a picture of the “13-year-old girl” naked, and said he wanted to be the first to take her ‘V’. The recipient took this to mean her virginity. He then sent her an anatomical diagram.
Williams admitted sending sexual communications to someone he thought was a child and had had sentence deferred for a background report.
Fiscal depute David Morton said Williams admitted to his “victim” that he was aged 51 and would communicate almost daily with her.
He added that the sexual messages began with requests for photographs of the “girl” in her nightdress or underwear.
“He also stated he wanted to smack her bare bum and lie in bed with her naked.” Mr Morton went on.
The group passed on their evidence to the police and Williams was arrested on November 20 last year.
“He made full admissions to police when interviewed.” Mr Morton said.