Tayside and Central Scotland

David Graves guilty of sexually assaulting underage girls

Social media
Image caption David Graves used social media to contact underage girls before assaulting them

A man has admitted using social media to contact underage girls before assaulting them.

David Graves was caught after after a victim's mother found topless images of her 12-year-old daughter on her phone.

The 20-year-old admitted sexually assaulting the girl and a 14-year-old and told police: "I know what I did was wrong."

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that police also found more than 100 indecent images on Graves' laptop.

The court heard that the 12-year-old had left her phone lying in the living room of her home. Her mother looked through it and found messages from the older girl to her daughter and semi-naked pictures of the younger girl.

Advocate depute David Nicolson said the mother had then confronted her daughter who eventually admitted there had been sexual contact with Graves. Her father then called police.

Graves had already been sent a message by the mother of another girl who discovered a photo of her 13-year-old daughter in her underwear on a laptop, telling him that if he contacted the youngster again she would alert police.

'Indecent images'

Graves, formerly of Kirriemuir in Angus, admitted sexually assaulting the three girls.

He also pled guilty to sending sexual communications to children via a social networking website and possessing indecent images of children.

When police checked a laptop he used they found 122 indecent images of children and 22 videos, including some at the most extreme level.

A judge told the first offender that a custodial sentence was the "only realistic option" and remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing next month.

Graves' first victim had contacted him through Facebook in 2012 and messages were exchanged, during which she told him she was 14, a year older than her true age, and he said he was 18.

At one stage he suggested that she could stay with him any night she wanted.

Mr Nicolson said he later "asked her to send a picture of herself which was followed by a series of sexually explicit messages".

"She then sent him a photograph of herself in her underwear which was later discovered by her mother on her laptop," the prosecutor said.

"That caused her to check the history of messages between the parties back to March 2012 and then send a message to him stating that she was the girl's mother and that if contacted her again she was going to contact the police."

'Explicit conversations'

The girl later revealed she had met Graves three times and told him she was only 13.

The 14-year-old girl had met Graves at a fast food restaurant in Forfar, in Angus, where he worked and he had added her on Facebook which led to a series of sexually explicit conversations.

She met him on various occasions last year with the 12-year-old sometimes also going along.

Mr Nicolson said Graves repeatedly tried to hug and kiss both girls and sexually assaulted them. He would molest the girls and pull down their trousers and expose himself.

Graves asked police if what had happened would affect his chance of joining the Army or being able to get into America. He also claimed that because he knew what he had done was wrong that he was thinking of handing himself in.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci said: "I accept, as does he, that having regard to the seriousness of these offences a custodial sentence will be inevitable."

The judge, Lord Boyd of Duncansby, deferred sentence on Graves for the preparation of a background report and placed him on the sex offenders' register.

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