A heavyweight sex pest who stalked a terrified Perth shop assistant was making a “ham-fisted” attempt to strike up a relationship, a court has heard.
Convicted paedophile Gordon Simpson repeatedly visited the Zeus Juice vape store and stood for long periods, staring at a female employee.
Perth Sheriff Court heard the 32-year-old was drumming up the courage to ask her out.
Twenty-five stone Simpson was sentenced via video link, because he was too big to be transported in a prisoner van.
The sex offender, who once claimed being obese made him look at child abuse images, was told he had narrowly dodged a jail sentence.
He was placed on supervision for 24 months and ordered to stay away from the shop worker.
Sheriff Francis Gill told Simpson he must tell a supervising officer if he ever starts a relationship.
The offender will also wear an electronic tag as part of a 15-week restriction of liberty order curfew.
Victim was ‘uneasy and scared’
The sheriff told Simpson: “You have pleaded guilty to an offence of stalking which the court takes very seriously.
“You have clearly caused the complainer a great deal of fear and distress.
“A custodial sentence was clearly an option in this case but I am prepared to deal with this by way of a community payback order.”
Fiscal Nicole Lewis said Simpson went to the Vape store and stared at the employee on several occasions in April.
“He stood in the shop while the complainer carried out her duties.
“He would repeatedly make comments but never purchase anything.”
Ms Lewis said Simpson “constantly watched” the woman and would leave the shop whenever other staff entered.
“This made the complainer increasingly uneasy and scared.”
On one occasion, he stared for as long as 40 minutes.
Managers were alerted and the situation was reported to police.
Spoke of ‘plans for the future’
Simpson was arrested for stalking and interviewed by detectives.
He told them he chatted with his victim about “hobbies, pets and plans for the future”.
He added: “If she had a problem she should have said that at the time.
“I’d like to apologise if I’ve caused distress.
“I’ll never go back to that shop.”
Simpson admitted engaging in a course of conduct which caused the employee fear or alarm between April 12 and 22.
Solicitor Linda Clark, defending, told the court: “This was a juvenile attempt to engage in conversation with a young lady who was being nice to him.
“I presume that she was being professional and appropriate to a customer and he thought she was being friendly to him, which he took to mean something more.
“He was drumming up the courage to ask her out.”
Ms Clark said: “This was a very ham-fisted attempt at developing a relationship.”
Weight caused offending claim
The convicted sex offender began visiting the High Street shop after being released from prison.
Simpson, who was originally jailed for possession of child abuse images, was imprisoned again last year for having a mobile phone capable of accessing the internet – a breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Three years earlier, he was caged for having a laptop without police monitoring software.
At the time, Simpson claimed being so overweight had led to him developing an interest in child abuse pictures.
Swift police action
Simpson’s victim declined to comment, but a spokeswoman for Zeus Juice said: “We want to say thank you to the Perth police for their quick and professional response on the matter.
“We have our staff’s safety as a number one priority and we are glad it has all been handled and put to bed now.”
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