A Glenrothes man was snared by vigilantes when he turned up at a Fife cinema hoping to meet a 14-year-old for a sexual encounter.
Members of the Maximum Exposure UK group, who describe themselves as a “voluntary online protection team”, waited at the Odeon in Dunfermline for Alan Malcolm, 26, who was under the impression he was meeting a teenager called Scarlett Allan.
Malcolm ended up being chased down by the vigilantes in an episode which was captured on video and viewed around 78,000 times online.
He appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Tuesday, when he was placed on the sex offenders register. Malcolm will return to court for sentencing next month.
Decoy account set up to snare Malcolm
Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia told the court that Kathryn Monk had set up a decoy account, pretending to be the teenager, Scarlett.
An online conversation was struck up between Malcolm and the fake account, where the accused was informed that he was chatting to a 14-year-old, before he asked if she had a boyfriend.
“The accused went on to ask witness Monk if he could have some pictures of Scarlett,” said Mr Kapadia.
“He went on to suggest dating and told witness Monk that Scarlett was beautiful.”
He told fake teen he loved her
Mr Kapadia said Malcolm claimed he had been “scammed” by a girl, who demanded payment for pictures she had posted online.
“He then asked witness Monk for her mobile number,” said the depute.
“They started messaging on WhatsApp.
“He asked for a full length picture of Scarlett so he could see all of her.
“The accused kept messaging Scarlett, telling her he loved her and that he was a virgin.”
An agreement was made to meet at the cafe in the Odeon at Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline.
Ms Monk was sitting with a witness whose pictures she had been using to send to Malcolm.
When he realised what was happening, Malcolm tried to run off but was prevented from doing so by another witness.
The accused was later arrested and it was established that he required assistance from an appropriate adult because of his learning difficulties.
Malcolm, of Cortachy Place in Glenrothes, pled guilty to turning up to Fife Leisure Park on October 19, 2019, in an attempt to meet “Scarlett Allan” in the knowledge that she was under 16.
He further admitted, between October 14 and 19 2019, sending messages with a sexual content to Kathryn Monk, who was posing as Scarlett, for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification.
Sheriff James Williamson called for a criminal justice social work report and deferred sentence until March 29.