August 2019

Paedophile hunter snared Aberdeen pervert by posing as girl, 14

A pervert was snared by a paedophile hunter posing as a 14-year-old girl on Facebook.

Alan Merchant, 44, caught the attention of the paedophile hunters after he spotted him “following a large number of girls” on Instagram who appeared to be under the age of 16.

Depute fiscal Lucy Simpson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “The witness created a Facebook profile in the name of Stacey Price with the profile picture of an 18-year-old female glamour model.

“In the picture the model appears younger than her actual age.”

The man then added Merchant on Facebook from the fake account on December 16 and a conversation began.

Ms Simpson said: “The nature of the conversation was initially innocuous.

“Stacey Price immediately indicated that she was 14 years old. The accused stated he was 44 years old and sent two photographs of himself.

“The conversation between the accused and Stacey Price soon became sexualised, with the accused asking for pics.

“Stacey Price sent the accused a stock photo from a pornographic website that depicted a female’s bottom wearing pants.”

Merchant responded by sending three pictures of his penis and asking: “Can I see your b****?”

The accused went on to give a detailed explanation of what he would like to do to the girl.

Ms Simpson said: “Stacey Price offered to meet the accused, which he indicated he would like.”

The conversation continued the following day with discussions about them having sex, before the paedophile hunter “terminated the conversation”, closed the account and contacted the police.

Merchant, of Wallace House, Aberdeen, pled guilty to sending repeated written sexual communications to what he thought was a child and to causing what he thought was a child to look at sexual images.

Sheriff Morag McLaughlin deferred sentence until October for reports and made him subject to the notification requirements of the sexual offences act in the interim. Defence lawyer Mike Monro reserved mitigation for the sentencing hearing.