December 2020

Pervert theology student tried to meet underage girl outside Edinburgh Lidl store

A theology student who travelled to meet up with who he believed was a 13-year-old schoolgirl for sex was caught in a paedophile hunter sting outside an Edinburgh supermarket.

Abu Issac Shalom, 31, had been chatting online to ‘Grace’ and arranged to meet her last November.

He arrived at the Lidl Store in the capital’s Granton area and was met instead by members of Maximum Exposure UK.

The paedophile hunters live streamed the meeting to more than 3000 viewers on their Facebook page and handed over incriminating chat logs to Police Scotland.

Shalom – a student of Theology at Edinburgh University’s School of Divinity – was also in contact with ‘14-year-old Scarlett’ and had been sending sexual messages after meeting her online

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told both online profiles had been set up by the Maximum Exposure group in March last year in a bid to snare online sexual predators.

Shalom, of South Bridge, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to two offences when he appeared at the capital’s sheriff court last month and he returned to the dock for sentencing.

Sheriff Peter McCormack told the aspiring minister he was escaping a jail term ”by the skin of his teeth” and placed him on a community order where he has to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Shalom was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

Previously the court was told Shalom had been chatting to ‘Grace’ online and had arranged to meet the 13-year-old outside the Edinburgh supermarket with the intention having sex.

But after arriving at the store on November 3 last year he was soon confronted by the paedo group and police were called in to deal with him.

Fiscal depute Ross Price also told the court the shamed dad was in contact with 14-year-old ‘Scarlett’ and had sent her sexually explicit messages telling her he “felt horny once a week”.

Shalom asked the youngster if she had ever seen naked images of men and talked about wanting to touch her intimately during the sordid online chats.

Lawyer Leslie Cunningham, defending, said her client was due to return to India in March next year as his student visa is due to expire but said he would extend it if he was placed on a community disposal.

Ms Cunningham added Shalom has two young children in India and that he was “looking to work here as a minister” but his conviction will have “obvious difficulties for his chosen career”.

Shalom pleaded guilty to travelling to meet up with who he believed was a 13-year-old girl called Grace with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity with her at West Granton Road, Edinburgh, on November 3 last year.

He also admitted to sending sexual communications to who he believed was a 14-year-old girl for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification at his home address between October 22 and 31 last year.

Shalom is currently studying Theology at Edinburgh University’s School of Divinity and has a degree in Divinity after studying at the United Theological college in Bangalore, India.