January 2019

Pervert student snared by online paedophile hunters avoids jail because he’s ‘vulnerable’

A paedophile snared by online pervert hunters at student digs dodged a prison stretch yesterday because he is “vulnerable”

Predatory Alexander O’Neill, 29, bombarded a woman, posing as a girl of 12, with obscene texts from his university flat in Paisley.

Prosecutors dropped a claim he sent her footage of a man performing a sex act.

The weirdo – who has a previous conviction for buying booze for children – was spared jail amid fears for his own safety.

During a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court, O’Neill admitted sending indecent messages.

Sheriff Frances McCartney let him walk after hearing he could be targeted by lags behind bars.

She said: “You have pled guilty to a very serious matter. You have been placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a period of three years.

“Society is extremely fortunate no child has been harmed.”

O’Neill was flagged up to police by a group called Wolf Pack Hunters UK that targets and identifies online groomers who target children.

Its volunteers pose as children online and hand over seedy messages from predators to cops.

O’Neill, who is the son of a prison officer, made contact with a decoy account after logging onto an online chat room on February 21 last year.

He believed he was talking to a schoolgirl but he was really being monitored by a woman aged 47.

The weirdo bragged that he had his hand down his pants and urged her to touch herself – despite being told she was only 12.

Wolf Pack Hunters UK confronted O’Neill after tracking him to student accommodation in Gilmour Street.

They streamed the encounter live on Facebook last March and footage included an apology from the fiend.

O’Neill struck a deal with prosecutors that saw him pleading guilty to one charge in exchange for two others being dropped.

Claims that he sent a video of a man performing a solo sex act were dropped.

Sheriff McCartney said: “As a direct alternative to custody, you will be placed on a Community Payback Order.

There will be a requirement that you attend a sexual offending programme.”

O’Neill, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was ordered to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for three years.