Edinburgh crime: Craigmillar man Gary Laver jailed after being caught in a paedophile hunter sting

Jail for man caught during paedophile sting operation

A man who sexually assaulted two young girls and was then caught in a paedophile hunter sting has been jailed and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Gary Laver preyed on a 10-year-old girl during a babysitting session and attacked a teenager in his car after volunteering to drive her to visit a relative who was in hospital suffering from cancer. Laver, 59, then sent sexual comments and images of his penis to who he believed was a 13-year-old schoolgirl after contacting her online.

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He was lured to meet the youngster in Edinburgh city centre but when he turned up in his red Jaguar he was confronted by members of the hunter group Protecting Kids Scotland. The online sting was live streamed on the PKS Facebook page and the footage has been viewed more than 85,000 times.

Gary Laver was caught during a paedophile hunter sting operation

Following his arrest in September last year police officers subsequently discovered 118 indecent images of children hidden away on Laver’s mobile phone. Laver, from the city’s Craigmillar, pleaded guilty to five offences at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on Thursday.

Solicitor Richard Souter, defending, said his client is a married man and that his wife “is standing by him” despite his series of offending which includes a previous conviction for possessing indecent images of children.

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Sheriff Robert Fife said: “You have pled guilty to five charges on a Section 76 Indictment. All charges are serious. In my view a significant aggravating factor is your previous conviction in 2020. In relation to charges one and two, you did not stop the communication when informed of the child’s age.

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“In relation to charges four and five [sexual assault charges], these offences involved a breach of trust and charge four was particularly nasty and unpleasant. In my opinion there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Sheriff Fife jailed Laver for 30 months and placed him on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period. Previously the court heard Laver had contacted an online account belonging to a teenager called ‘Sophie’ on a chat site before moving the contact to WhatsApp.

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The pervert was told the girl was just 13 but he continued to send her sexual messages and pictures of his penis between August 14 and September 10 this year.

Fiscal depute Ross Price told the court Laver sent messages to Sophie saying she was “sexy” and demanded the youngster send him “full length pictures” of herself. The fiscal said Laver then arranged to meet the girl in Edinburgh city centre but after pulling up in his red Jaguar car he was met by members of the hunter group.

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Following his arrest a relative of Laver then contacted the police to inform them he had sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl he was looking after at a house in Niddrie, Edinburgh in April 2018. The court was told while babysitting the child Laver had and climbed into her bed and placed her hand on his penis before putting his hand in to her pyjama bottoms.

A family friend also contacted police to say Laver had preyed on a 14-year-old girl after he had offered to drive her to the city’s Western General Hospital to visit a relative who was suffering from cancer.

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The court was told Laver repeatedly placed his hand on the schoolgirl’s upper thigh as he drove her to the hospital on several occasions between December 2016 and December 2018.