November 2019

Predatory father-of-three has been jailed for attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl

A predatory father-of-three has been jailed for attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl in Coatbridge for sex.

Perverted James Kelly, 55, spent weeks chatting online last summer to who he thought were two underage girls – the other youngster being just 12 – before arranging to meet one of them at the Showcase leisure park.

He later sent a video of himself performing a sex act to the 14-year-old – who had made her age clear to him. Kelly also sent messages to the other girl asking, “should I strip for you?” and “should I get naked on Snapchat?”

He underlined his grooming intentions by sinisterly stating: “Maybe one day you can show me”.

What Kelly didn’t know was that, rather than it being a vulnerable young girl receiving his sick correspondence, it was an adult member of the hunting group Wolf Pack Hunters UK.

The organisation’s members assume an online identity of an imaginary child in an attempt to snare potential paedophiles,
before handing them over to police.

Several of the group confronted Kelly in Kirkwood on August 4 last year and challenged him over his illegal intentions.

A video clip that has been viewed almost 250,000 times shows Kelly breaking down in tears after initially trying to act with bravado when first confronted by the camera-touting vigilantes, with pleas of, “I’ve done nothing wrong”.`

Despite the overwhelming evidence and his guilty plea, Kelly incredulously claimed he has “no attraction” to children.

During his sentencing at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday, his defence solicitor said: “He’s originally from Glasgow but since this came to light he left and is now in Fife.

“He says this matter has destroyed his life. He has three children, of adult ages, and a sister, who have cut off all communication with him.

“He’s an isolated individual with no close friends and has been lonely since his separation from his wife.

“He recognises the nature of these offences will give you concern about his future but he maintains he has no attraction to children.

“People from Glasgow and Coatbridge know about this matter but not in Fife where he now resides.

“He’s hoping you can deal with him by means of a community-based disposal and he will seek help under supervision. There have never been any sexual complaints about him before and says he will fully grasp a community order.”

But Sheriff Frank Pieri said: “I’ve heard everything that can be said for you but the fact remains that these are very serious charges.

“Nothing I read in the report leads me to believe I can deal with this in any way other than by a custodial sentence.

“You pled guilty so I will sentence you to 14 months in jail, otherwise it would have been 18.

“You’ll also be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.”