November 2019

Man groomed Largs schoolgirl

THE distraught mother of a 13-year-old Largs schoolgirl who was ‘groomed’ over Snapchat has hit out after her abuser was spared him prison.

David MacFarlane, 20, messaged the teenager through the social media app and arranged to meet her at Fairlie Train Station on November 17 last year.

After luring her there MacFarlane – who was 19 at the time – took her into the woods and had sex with his underage victim.

MacFarlane, from Prestwick, admitted the offence but avoided a jail sentence when he appeared this week for sentencing.

He was given a one year supervision order and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

The child’s devastated mum said MacFarlane – who claimed not to fully understand the gravity of his crime because of autism – knew exactly how old her daughter was before meeting her and said he would be ‘laughing’ at the punishment.

She said: “I thought that his time on the Register would have been longer. I was expecting at least maybe five years.

“He knew her age. If he was a half decent person he would not have persisted, but this is a slap on the wrist. He will walk away laughing but I’m not amused at that or any of it, but there’s not a lot we can do now.

“He came all the way to Prestwick on the train by himself and knew exactly what he was planning to do.”

The girl’s mum says her daughter was contacted by MacFarlane two days after the meeting by text her to say he didn’t want any further contact with her.

She also added that she thinks he is still ‘a danger’ to other youngsters.

She said: “My girl is safe now but he is free. He has got away with this so what would stop him doing it again? I definitely think he is a danger to young girls.

“I told her my daughter it would be dealt with by the courts but now I have to tell her that he has been let off.

“I know what my daughter has gone through. It was very upsetting and she felt very stupid. He humiliated her and made her feel naïve because she was sucked in by him.

“I just want her to have as normal a childhood as possible after this. She has a huge group of friends who continue to be a great support.”

MacFarlane’s lawyer Sandy Currie told the court that his client suffered from “a lack of consequential thinking”.

Mr Currie said MacFarlane’s family, who had come to court to support him, feared he ‘may be on the autistic spectrum’ and said that he did not ‘fully appreciate’ the serious nature of his crimes.