January 2020

Sex predator snared by group now living in East Kilbride

A child sex predator snared by paedophile hunters is now living in East Kilbride.

Depraved Ian Bell, 48, was clutching a cuddly toy as he attempted to meet a ‘decoy’ he believed was a 15-year-old girl in Paisley

Bell was snared after sending indecent pictures and having sex chats with a member of vigilante group Wolfpack Hunters UK on social media.

He was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years, has an electronic tag for ten months and was ordered he be closely supervised by the local authority for three years.

Bell, who has since moved to Three Rivers Walk in Westwood, is also banned from schools, nurseries, public parks and play parks, as well banned from using any device capable of accessing the Internet for the duration of the order.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard Bell had been messaging an adult, William Brown, who he thought was a girl called Sarah, and even arranged to meet her for sex.

However, he was caught in an elaborate sting operation when the decoy, accompanied by members of the group, confronted him outside a supermarket.

Bell, formerly of Barrhead, even had a cuddly toy in a plastic shopping bag, when he was approached by the group, which recorded the encounter on video.

On Friday, the creep appeared in the dock before Sheriff Colin Pettigrew where he pleaded guilty to sending indecent images with intention of causing a child to look at them, for his own sexual gratification between July 10 and 28, 2018.

He also admitted attempting to meet a person he believed to be a child with the intention of having underage sex on the same day.

The court had ordered background reports, including risk assessments, before deciding his punishment.

Sheriff Pettigrew branded Bell’s behaviour “wholly unacceptable” and added the courts have “a duty to protect children” from the likes of him.

He said: “The court has a duty to reflect society’s concerns – and express its disapproval – at your repeated offending which took planning and anticipation on your part.”