July 30, 2008

Web Pervert Escapes Jail Over Grooming

AN internet pervert who arranged meetings with an undercover police officer he thought was a young girl has escaped jail.

Father-of-one John McKee, 36, arranged two rendezvous through chat rooms, text messages and an internet messaging service with a 14-year-old girl who he knew as Katie.

The store manager bought her a top-up for her phone to set up dates via text message, telling her that he was "melting with lust" and that he wanted to kiss her.

But Katie was actually an undercover policewoman posing as the teen to monitor the chat room.

Police arrested him as he was ready to board a train to meet her, while other officers raided his home and searched his computer.

Today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, he was given three years' probation and ordered to work with a social worker.

McKee will also do 225 hours of unpaid work and will have to sign on the sex offenders' register for three years.

His defence solicitor, Graeme Clark, said the first offender turned to the internet after his nine-year marriage became "claustrophobic".

Sheriff Douglas Allan said McKee clearly had some perversion, but felt he could be helped to overcome it through probation.

(c) 2008 Evening News; Edinburgh (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.