December 2018

Paisley child sex predator snared by paedophile hunters ‘wolf pack’

A child sex predator, who was snared during a paedophile hunter sting streamed live on Facebook, faced justice yesterday.

Paisley pervert Alex O’Neill, 29, was unmasked at his student accommodation after grooming a suspected 12-year-old girl for sex unaware she was a member of a group who hunt paedophiles.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard shocked O’Neill was confronted at his flat by members of Wolf Pack Hunters UK after sending sexually-explicit messages to an adult woman “decoy,” who had been posing as the youngster during social media chats.

Fiscal depute Keri Marshall told the court : “Wolf Pack Hunters UK is a collection of volunteers which target and identify online groomers who target underage persons for their own sexual gratification.

“A 47-year-old female who became a member of Wolf Pack Hunters in January created a profile as Amy with the purpose of being a 12-year-old girl residing in Scotland.

“Thus Amy went on Tagged, which is a website to meet and chat, when she received a message from the accused which read: ‘Hey.’

“Amy and the accused then exchanged phone numbers so they could converse on WhatsApp.

“On February 13, the exchanges became sexual when Amy asked the accused, ‘How are you?

“He replied he was ‘in my boxer shorts’ then was ‘wearing nothing’”, before adding that he was touching himself because “it felt good”.

The court was told during the WhatsApp chat, O’Neill wrote to the decoy, “Maybe I will show you in person sometime.”

In further chats, O’Neill urged the decoy to touch her private parts, and then when the decoy asked what that would do, he replied she would feel a “sensation and it would feel good.”

The court heard decoy replied she “had never done that before, not at my age.”

O’Neill urged her saying: “Most people do it when they are older, but it is up to you when you want to do it.”

He also bragged to the decoy that he had his hands down his trousers.

The prosecutor explained that witnesses from WolfPack Hunters, including Amy, turned up at O’Neill’s doorstep at student accommodation in Paisley to confront him about grooming Amy and he immediately apologised.

The sting operation, which was live streamed on Facebook, ended with him being led away by police.

Yesterday, he appeared in the dock and pleaded guilty to a charge that between February 21 and March 17, for the purposes of sexual gratification he did cause humiliation, distress and alarm to a person he believed to be a child, who had not attained the age of 13.

And that he sent her repeated messages of a sexual and indecent nature using WhatsApp.

Sheriff Frances McCartney deferred sentencing O’Neill for six weeks to call for a Criminal Justice Social Work Report and a report from the Pathways Project, which works with sex offenders in Renfrewshire.

She also placed him on the Sex Offenders’ Register and freed him on bail.

O’Neill will learn of his fate when he returns for sentencing on January 23.