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Abuser caught in sting claimed internet acts were ‘a bit of fun’

Donald Griffin leaving Perth Sheriff Court.
Donald Griffin leaving Perth Sheriff Court.

A bricklayer who posed as a teenage boy and his mother in a bid to dupe a 14-year-old girl into carrying out sex acts claimed it was “a bit of fun.”

Donald Griffin created dual personas on social media apps to groom the schoolgirl, first by pretending to be a 17-year-old boy called Lee and then posing as the boy’s mother Susan.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told Griffin: “His explanation is that it ‘started out as a bit of fun’ at a time when he had ‘had one or two beers.’

“It seems to me to be verging on incomprehensible that someone of your age and background could, in all seriousness, have considered what you engaged in as a bit of fun.

“The repetition of the behaviour tends to blow that particular explanation out of the water.”

He noted Griffin contacted the girl on nine days during a 13-day period.

Griffin’s web of lies

Griffin spun a web of lies – including that the mother he was posing as worked in the child abuse unit with Police Scotland – to hook the girl into believing him.

It was ultimately Griffin who was duped as the 14-year-old girl was actually a front for an adult member of a vigilante paedophile hunter group.

His partner called police when eight members of the vigilante group turned up at their home to confront ‘Lee Griffin’ as she thought it was mistaken identity.

However, when police started to look into the matter, it emerged it was Griffin who had been using his own phone to contact the girl.

Perth Sheriff Court heard how he told police officers: “I don’t know what to say to be honest.”

Griffin, 58, of Kinloch Terrace, Perth, admitted sending sexual communication to a girl he believed to be between 13 and 16 for his sexual gratification between 3 and 16 January 2019.

Fake Facebook account

Fiscal depute Gail Russell told the court that Child Protectors Scotland set up a fake Facebook account for a child and it was quickly targeted by Griffin.

She said: “Within five or ten minutes of making contact he stated that he wished to meet. The following day he asked to see her naked breasts.”

Griffin offered to pay ‘Dani’s’ phone credit so he could speak to her and when phone contact was made it became clear he was an older man.

“She received numerous messages from him. He stated his mother worked in the child porn unit in Perth. He stated his mother had caught him and called him a dirty pervert.”

During the dialogue, his “mother” intervened and asked Dani what age she was. Griffin – posing as the teenage boy – later claimed his mother had grounded him over their communication.

‘He became enraptured’

Solicitor Alan Rogers, defending, said: “Mr Griffin has asked me to publicly apologise for this course of offending. He struggles to explain why he did this.

“He became enraptured with the idea of an illicit conversation. It is no excuse and is not even a very good explanation. It was a relatively short-lived lurch downhill.

“He describes it as total madness on his part. He is old enough and wise enough to know he ought not to have done that.

“It is a struggle to see how someone with a good work record and background can become bewitched by this sort of thing.”

The father-of-two was placed on the sex offenders register and under supervision for three years, and ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.

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