Pervert jailed for 18 months for posing as a schoolgirl online
A pervert has been jailed for 18 months for posing as a schoolgirl online to send sexual messages to teens.
Warren Costello, 49, also had 75 indecent images of children on a mobile phone.
The food firm worker, from Troon, Ayrshire pretended to be a girl called Emily on Facebook.
He sent sexual comments to four underage schoolgirls in 2016 and they alerted police.
Ayr sheriff Carole Cunninghame said it was “premeditated, deceitful and manipulative” behaviour.
As well as the jail term, she put Costello on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
Paedophile posed as school girl to prey on helpless children
A paedophile who pretended to be a school girl on Facebook sent sexual comments to four young teenagers.
Shaven-headed and stubbled Warren Costello, 47, from Troon, posed as a fake Kyle Academy pupil named Emily Cairns to prey on the girls.
And the pervert was also found in possession of horrific child-abuse images.
He ran from Ayr Sheriff Court when released on bail this week after the court heard about him setting up the fake female profile.
His messages to the young girls included asking one if she was wearing pants and telling another she had ‘great breasts’, the court heard.
The victims became alarmed and confused to receive smutty chat from a supposed girl.
Depute fiscal Hayley Robertson said the first victim accepted a friend request from ‘Emily’ on November 2, 2016.
Ms Robertson said: “She thought it was a member of the cycling club.
“She became suspicious of the messages when they turned sexual.”
Comments included ‘you look fit’ and an enquiry into whether her backside got sore while riding a bike, Ms Robertson said.
“She described feeling creeped out by these messages, she blocked the account,” Ms Robertson added.
The 15-year-old was friends with the real Costello on Facebook and had exchanged messages with him – but only about cycling.
The sharp-witted teenager noticed similarities in the style of writing of Costello and the fake Emily.
Posing as Emily again, Costello added another girl, 15, who he was already friends with on Facebook.
Ms Robertson said: “She viewed the profile and saw she (Emily) lived in Ayr and attended Kyle Academy.
After receiving an initial ‘hello’ with a x, she was told she had ‘great breasts’.
She did not reply and the messages stopped.
Another 15-year-old girl who accepted a friend request under Costello’s fake profile received messages on November 19 last year when she was watching TV downstairs with her parents.
Ms Robertson said: “Emily Cairns told her to go upstairs, which she did.
“Emily Cairns began sending sexual messages to the complainer asking if she had underwear on and that she, Emily Cairns, liked looking at girls in changing rooms with underwear on.”
The fiscal said the girl was also asked ‘knickers or no knickers?’
Using his female alias, Costello asked a fourth 15-year-old girl on Facebook if she was wearing pyjamas the fiscal told the court. She unfriended him.
Police were informed about the online harassment. Officers searched the predator’s home in Donald Court, Troon, seizing a Samsung phone. Cybercrime officers found a stash of horrific child porn images on his machine – some of the most serious Category A rating.
Costello, who ran from the court building after appearing in the dock, will learn his punishment next month.
But Sheriff Cunninghame warned him being given bail was not a reflection on his actual sentence.
The accused, who has now moved to Paisley, pled guilty to pretending to be a girl called email and directing sexual verbal communication to the four teenagers for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or of causing them to be humiliated, distressed or alarmed during November last year.
He also admitted taking or permitting to be taken indecent photos of children between January 2 and 15 this year.