Man admits sending sexual messages to underage girl

A man who admitted sending a series of sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl has been placed on the sex offenders register.

Ellis Birnie, 25, pleaded guilty to four charges when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday. His sentence was deferred for background reports.

Birnie, of Sandveien, Lerwick, admitted sending a number of “sexual and indecent” communications to the underage girl over the course of a two-month relationship.

The offender encouraged the young girl to expose her breasts to him on camera and also twice masturbated on camera, causing her to feel “uncomfortable” and end the video call, the court heard.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said that the pair had communicated exclusively through social media and had not met in person.

However, Birnie had attempted to engineer a face-to-face meeting where according to the court documents he intended to engage in “unlawful sexual activities”.

The 15-year-old, who was said to be in residential care, was not resident to Shetland, the court heard. The offending only came to light when the girl told her social worker that she had been messaging a man in his 20s.

Mr MacKenzie said that records of the messages exchanged between the pair showed that “she was clear about her age” from an early stage.

Despite knowing this Birnie continued to exchange a “significant number” of messages with the girl being “quite explicit about his sexual desires towards her”.

When the police interviewed him about the case Birnie made “full admissions”, the fiscal added.

Two further charges against the 25-year-old related to an incident which took place at an address on Lerwick’s Burgh Road in late January.

Birnie pleaded guilty to charges which state that on 31st January he brandished a knife at a woman and threatened to stab her partner.

He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon without lawful excuse or authority.

Defence agent Tommy Allan chose not to say anything in mitigation on Wednesday, preferring to wait until Birnie reappears for sentencing following the preparation of background reports.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.