Paedophile hunter sting: Armadale pervert caught trying to groom a girl he believed was just 12 years of age
A pervert was caught in a paedophile hunter ‘sting’ after he tried to groom a girl he thought was 12-years-old online.
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The “gorgeous” youngster who Alexander Carruthers was chatting up sexually turned out to be a decoy who was pretending to be a schoolgirl from Blackpool in Lancashire.
The fake Facebook profile was actually being run by an adult whose real name is Sam Noble, a member of a paedophile hunter group called “The Fleetwood Enforcers”.
A court heard Carruthers even sent photographs of himself and details of where he lived in Scotland in his failed attempt to obtain sexual gratification from the youngster he believed was called “Sophia Sugden”.
But the personal information he provided along with the increasingly sexual messages he sent to the contact were forwarded to a paedophile hunter group called ‘Shattering the Silence’ based in his home town in West Lothian.
A leader of the Scottish group informed police about what Carruthers had been doing then went to confront him at his home in Denholm Grove, Armadale, Livingston Sheriff Court heard.
The woman, who set up the group to raise awareness of the growing epidemic of child abuse, livestreamed the confrontation on Facebook.
Carruthers was arrested the same night. He gave police permission to search his house and officers seized computer equipment which was found to contain hundreds of indecent movies and still images of youngsters being sexually abused.
Carruthers, 55, pled guilty on Monday to intentionally attempting to communicate indecently with a child between 19 and 31 May 2020 for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification or of humiliating, distressing a person who he believed was under the age of 13.
He admitted repeatedly sending sexual communications to her describing kissing her on the face and body, touching her on the breasts and body and undressing her.
He also admitted possession indecent photographs of children at his home between 1 June 2019 and 3 June 2020.
Jim Robertson, prosecuting, said police had found were 251 videos and nine photographs in category ‘A’ showing children being raped or subjected to serious sexual abused; 102 videos and five images in category ‘B’, and 108 videos and 151 images in the least serious category ‘C’.
He said Carruthers contacted the decoy and continued chatting with her online even though she told him in one of her first messages that she was only 12 years old. He repeatedly called her ‘beautiful’ and asked her if she’d had sex education at school.
“He sent her photographs of himself and he mentions that she should come to Scotland.
“During the course of the conversation he continually referred to her as ‘gorgeous’ or ‘baby’ and sends her another photograph, I should say not indecent photographs. The accused asked her for a photograph but she said the camera on her phone was broken.”
Mr Robertson added: “The conversation became a bit more sexualised when he was taking about her underwear and what she was wearing.
“He then started describing physical or sexual contact he’d like to have with her in more detail than that.”
He said members of the Fleetwood group and the group based in Armadale had ongoing discussions about Carruthers on June 3 last year and a woman from the Scottish group went on her own to the accused’s house that evening after making police aware of her intentions.
“On arrival she recognised him from the Facebook images and she streamed the confrontation live on Facebook. She asked him if he had been responsible for grooming the Facebook profile of the girl and he said ‘Aye’.
“She asked him if he knew her age and he said: ‘Aye’. Police became involved the same night and arrested him.”
Kevin Dugan, defending, said he would reserve his plea in mitigation until a social work report had been prepared before sentencing. Sheriff Douglas Kinloch called for the background report and ordered that Carruthers’ name be added to the sex offenders’ register with immediate effect.
Deferring sentence until July2, he added: “I think the accused ought to appear given the nature of the charges.”