June 2021

East Kilbride pervert snared by paedophile hunters is sentenced

An East Kilbride creep who was snared by paedophile hunters has been put on the sex offenders’ register for three years.

Michael Docherty was tricked into believing he was having online chats about sex with a 13-year-old boy.

He talked about taking the “boy” to a hotel and performing sexual acts with him.

He was unaware that he had been set up by Phoenix Guardians of the Innocents.

The group tipped off another organisation, Maximum Exposure, and vigilantes confronted Docherty at his home in Burnbrae Crescent before alerting the police.

Docherty, 29, was given a three-year supervision order as an alternative to prison at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Friday.

He admitted indecent communication with a person he thought was a child between May 17 and June 30 last year.

Docherty also admitted sending the person an indecent photograph.

Jennifer Cunningham, prosecuting, said a paedo hunting group set up a fake online profile in the name of a boy called Ben, purporting to be from Blackpool.

‘Ben’ was contacted by Docherty on the ‘Meet Me’ dating website and they began to have regular online chats.

Despite being told repeatedly that “Ben” was only 13 and “way younger” than him, Docherty insisted that wasn’t a problem and told the “boy” to trust him.

Soon, there was a sexual element to their chats and Docherty talked about travelling to meet “Ben” in a hotel.

He stated: “Maybe you should be here with me, keeping me warm and hugging me. I love hugging guys – anything can happen.”

Docherty’s chat became increasingly graphic.

He spoke about “entertaining” the boy and having sex with him. He also sent him an image of a penis, saying it was his.

Vigilantes confronted Docherty on June 30 and livestreamed it on Facebook.

Later police armed with a search warrant went to the address and were met by Docherty’s male partner.

Internet devices were seized and Docherty’s WhatsApp chats with “Ben” were recovered.

Docherty has no previous convictions and solicitor Tom Watters said his client has undertaken “intensive voluntary therapy” since the offences came to light.

Mr Watters told Sheriff Ray Small that Docherty had accepted responsibility for his actions at an early stage and taken all possible steps to address his issues.