Perth pensioner asked ‘teen’ decoy to call him uncle and sent her vile photos but told her ‘I’m not a paedophile’

Posted: 25th March 2022

A paedophile pensioner asked a “13-year-old girl” to call him uncle and suggested she wore stockings when they met up in Perth.

Michael McFadden told the youngster he was not a paedophile, before giving her sex lessons and sending obscene photos and a video of himself.

The 73-year-old targeted the girl the same day her social media accounts went live.

He was unaware he then chatted for nearly a month to a decoy account, operated by paedophile hunters Forbidden Scotland.

The group confronted McFadden when he arranged to meet the girl at Perth’s North Inch, and broadcast the encounter live on Facebook.

McFadden, of Dunkeld Road, Perth, appeared admitted that between September 1 and 26, 2020, at his then-home in Woodland Crescent, Scone, he attempted to sexually communicate with a child.

Decoy rules of conduct

Fiscal depute Alistair McDermid told Perth Sheriff Court the decoy account, named Zoe Herd, was set up by Forbidden Scotland member Barry Coates and group founder Glenn Stewart.

“This is a voluntary online child protection group that proactively identify people who seek out children on the internet for the purposes of sexual gratification,” he said.

“Decoys operating within the group had to adhere to a set of rules.

“These included not instigating or leading conversations and clearly identifying the age of the child – in this case a 13-year-old female.”

Zoe Herd goes live

Mr McDermid said: “On September 1, 2020, Mr Coates placed the decoy profile of Zoe Herd onto social media platforms ChatIW and Kik.

“That day, the accused made contact with the decoy and was informed that it’s age was 13.”

The fiscal depute told the court: “This did not deter the accused, who continued to communicate over a period of time.”

The court heard McFadden asked Zoe: “Hi Zoe, are you 18 or under?”

She replied: “I’m 13, is that okay?”

McFadden told the decoy that was okay and asked for a photo.

‘Lesson one’

The next day, McFadden continued chatting to the decoy.

“He told her he wasn’t a paedophile,” said Mr McDermid.

“He then asked to take the decoy for tea, coffee or juice.

“He asked again on September 4.

“He suggested that the decoy could call him uncle and that she could be his niece.”

The court heard McFadden began teaching Zoe about foreplay and sex, telling her it was “normal”.

He sent messages about masturbation and sex.

“He called that lesson number one,” the fiscal depute said.

“He said lesson number two would be tomorrow.”

‘This is our secret, okay?’

The next day, McFadden spoke to her about his penis and “how babies were made”.

“He told the decoy he was masturbating as he spoke to her,” said Mr McDermid.

The chat moved onto Whatsapp, the court heard.

“He received the decoy’s number, and told her: ‘This is our secret, okay?’

The court heard McFadden sent a series of photos of his penis, followed by a video of himself and told her to delete them.

McFadden then repeatedly asked to meet up with Zoe, and asked: “If you were in my flat, what would you do if I kissed you?”

He told the decoy account he was scared someone would find about them and her mum might call the police, before sending another photo of his penis.

Live broadcast

McFadden arranged to meet the decoy on September 26.

“The accused said he would be wearing trousers and a white polo top,” said the fiscal depute.

“He told the decoy to wear either a dress or a skirt.

“He told her not to wear tights as he didn’t like them and suggested she wear hold-ups, which he explained were like stockings.”

The court heard they organised to meet at Perth’s North Inch.

“Mr Coates informed Mr Stewart of this arrangement and Mr Stewart made his way to Perth to meet with the accused,” said Mr McDermid.

“The accused continued to chat online with the decoy until he was confronted by members of the Forbidden Scotland team.

“Mr Stewart livestreamed the event on Facebook.

“During the broadcast, the accused made several comments that would infer knowledge of the offence.”

When challenged about speaking to a 13-year-old girl, McFadden said he thought she was 18.

‘Just stupid’

Screenshots and videos were passed to police by the paedophile hunter group.

McFadden was arrested and told cops: “Just stupid.”

Solicitor David Holmes said his client had no previous convictions.

Sheriff William Wood deferred sentence until May 11 for background reports and a risk assessment.

McFadden, who was placed on the Sex Offenders Register when he pled guilty at a previous hearing, was released on bail.

The same vigilante group previously snared Perth man James Kettles, who was convicted following trial last year.

Source: The Courier

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