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Man from Nairn made threats to girls, including victim from Dingwall area, over naked pictures an Inverness court is told

By Ali Morrison

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A man who preyed on young girls via social media told them he would harm their families if they did not send him naked pictures of themselves, Inverness Sheriff Court has been told.

Craig McNeill (22) also sent his victims pictures of himself committing a sexual act.

He contacted the girls, aged 12 to 16, between February 2018 and November last year, using the Snapchat platform.

McNeill, of Loch Avenue, Nairn, admitted 12 charges ranging from extortion to attempted extortion, distributing indecent images and communicating indecently with 11 different girls.

Depute fiscal Robert Weir told Inverness Sheriff Court how one of his victims received a Snapchat request from McNeill, who was unknown to her.

She exchanged intimate images with him over a short period of time in 2018, then contact ceased.

But he later contacted her again and said if she did not send more naked images he would share the ones he had on social media.

McNeill also threatened a 13-year-old that he would kill her mother if she did not send intimate pictures of herself.

She sent him two images of herself fully clothed then blocked him.

He told another girl that he was 17 and sent her pictures of a male committing a sex act on himself, sending similar videos to another girl, giving her a false name and telling her he was from Wick.

He contacted numerous other girls also using false names, sending intimate pictures and asking for the same, with threats against them or their families if they did no comply.

The fiscal said he threatened one 12 year-old that he would kill her family, inducing her to send him topless pictures of herself.

Mr Weir said following complaints to the police investigations were made in relation to the various user names McNeill had used.

They showed they were registered to the accused at his home address and a search was carried out in November 2019 during which his mobile phone was recovered.

“Analysis of the phone revealed it had been used to create some of the usernames to contact the girls,” he said. “There was also information showing that it had been used to converse with some of the girls, making the requests and sending them images they had described to police.”

Sentence was deferred until November 5 for reports and Sheriff Margaret Neilson released the first offender on bail. He was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register meantime.

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