A 58-year-old Fife man asked a “12-year-old girl for sex” and said he would use a condom to prevent pregnancy.
Ernest Nicholson believed he was speaking to a child online but was in fact conversing with an undercover police officer.
He also sent the decoy a picture of a naked penis.
Nicholson appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court to plead guilty to attempting to communicate indecently with a child and cause them to view a sexual image.
Accused knew decoy’s age
Prosecutor Lee-Anne Barclay told the court Nicholson initiated conversation with undercover police who were using the profile of a fake 12-year-old on the Kik messenger app.
The court heard he engaged in general conversation and acknowledged her age.
The fiscal depute said: “He stated he was 57 and from Dunfermline and worked at Rosyth Naval base as an engineer building warships.
“He sent a selfie of himself in the cab of a HGV and requested her to send a photo.”
When the picture was sent by an undercover officer, Nicholson commented on how pretty she was and if she was 18, he would “have her as his girlfriend” and would be “proud” of that.
On January 12 he continued to engage on Kik and made several comments to her, including, “if only you were 18 x”.
He acknowledged his actions were against the law and said if she was 18 he would meet her but that she was under age and he could be charged by the police.
Arrangements to meet
Nicholson then made comments to the decoy about him being “her man” and asked if she wanted to stay in a separate room at his house – then asked if she would “share his bed”.
The fiscal depute continued: “He asked if she would watch porn with him and asked if she would have sex with him.
“He then sent an indecent image of a male with an exposed penis.
“The male’s face was not included in the image so it cannot be confirmed if the image is the accused.
“He asked if she would stay over at his house at the weekend before sending an image of a house, which he purported to be his own.”
Nicholson continued to message the next day, asking if she wanted to come to his house and said he would “spoil her” and take her to buy what she wanted.
The fiscal said Nicholson then stated she could “stay over” and they could “make love”.
He said he could “pick her up in Livi’” and sent her a message saying “night, sexy”.
Chat turns to sex fantasies
On January 15 Nicholson said he would take time off work to meet her and asked if she was sure she wanted to sleep with him.
On January 16 he messaged saying he “would have slept better if she were cuddled beside him” and referred to her as a “pretty young lady”.
He then agreed to meet her at Morrison’s in Livingston that evening and said she could stay at his place and he would take her shopping.
The fiscal depute said: “He asked if she was on the pill and she said she was not.
“He said it was ok and he would use condoms so she would not get pregnant.”
The court heard Nicholson asked her to bring a change of clothes and when the decoy asked what they would do after he picked her up from the shop, he stated: “Back to mine, chill, relax, get to know each other, get food, then back to bed.”
Nicholson failed to show up but was traced and arrested outside of his workplace by detectives.
Missing man inquiry
Defence lawyer Brian Black said Nicholson, of Berry Law Place, Dunfermline, has since been engaging with various agencies, including Veterans First Point.
Sheriff Charles Lugton deferred sentencing until March 14 for background reports and bail was continued.
Nicholson was placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
In February 2023 – a month after his offending – police issued a missing person appeal for Nicholson, along with CCTV images of him wearing a distinctive camouflage rucksack as they asked the public for help tracing him.