April 2019

Online creep snared by paedophile hunters

A child sex predator was rumbled after sending a nude photo of himself to an undercover paedophile hunter.

Robert Gibson, 41, was snared after grooming what he thought was a 12-year-old girl for sex.

He was actually in contact with a member of a group called Wolf Pack Hunters UK, which roots out and identifies online groomers who target children.

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

Paisley Sheriff Court heard Gibson was exposed after the group confronted him at his parents’ address over sexually explicit conversations with adult volunteer, who had been posing as a youngster called Ava during social media chats.

Procurator fiscal depute Keri Marshall said: “The witness is a 46-year-old female and part of a group called Wolf Pack Hunters UK.

“She was posing as Ava, a 12-year-old female child, on the social media network Skout.

“She was contacted by the accused, whose profile name was Robert. He had a profile picture of his face.

“Between February 21 and February 26, the accused chatted to Ava via Skout. However, during that time there was no inadvertent sexual conversation.

“During chats, the witness Ferry, under the pseudonym Ava, clearly advised the accused she was 12 years of age.”

Ms Marshall explained that Gibson continued his contact with Ava on messaging service WhatsApp.

She had given him her mobile phone number and Gibson had added her as a friend on WhatsApp.

Ms Marshall said: “From this point on, the conversations became more sexualised, despite her advising him she was only 12.

“During conversations he said he wanted to teach her to kiss, that he wanted her to touch his private parts and that he wanted to have sex with her without wearing a condom.”

The court heard screenshots of these lurid chats were saved by the decoy

These included exchanges where he told Ava he could show her that “sex is not sore”, and he asked her if her mum “checked” her phone.

The prosecutor added: “Noting her reply, ‘no’, the accused asked her if she wanted to see a naughty picture, telling her it was for her eyes only.

“The accused sent her a photograph of himself naked with his private parts clearly exposed.

“The accused’s face is quite clear from that photograph.”

The court heard at this point witness Ms Ferry decided to join the Wolf Pack Hunters UK group and confront Gibson over his communications with Ava.

At 10pm on April 30 last year, she and the group attended his parents’ address in Bridge of Weir and showed him screenshots.

Dumbstruck Gibson replied: “I am f*****. I will lose my job.”

Gibson has resigned from his job at the UK Passport Office, has since been kicked out of his parents’ house and is now living in homeless accommodation.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of sending indecent communications to a person he believed to be under the age of 13, for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification, or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to her, and to causing her to look at a sexual image for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.

Sheriff Frances McCartney deferred sentencing Gibson to call for background reports, telling him: “These are serious matters which you have pleaded guilty to and custody is at the forefront of my mind.”

Gibson will discover his fate when he appears back in court on May 13.

He is also being considered for placement on the Sex Offenders’ Register.