A SEX offender who pulled down his trousers and exposed himself in front of youngsters at a barbecue, and sent lewd messages to young teenagers, had ‘completely lost a grip on adult life', a court has heard.

Richard Byrne, 50, was spared a prison sentence after he exposed his privates, sent indecent messages to boys and girls, and behaved in a threatening or abusive manner.

Byrne, previously of Peebles Crescent, Ayr, admitted sending messages of a sexual and indecent nature to a teenage girl complainer at an address in Dundonald on June 19, 2021.

At Ayr Sheriff Court, procurator fiscal depute Chris Munro said Byrne had been told he was "out of order" for his behaviour.

In a second incident, he exposed his genitals to a girl then aged 16, as well as the first female complainer, in a sexual manner, with the intention they would see them on July 1 that year.

He admitted pulling down his own trousers and pants and exposing himself to them on the same date.

Mr Munro added: “The complainers and the accused were at the locus together having a barbecue.

“They were within the living room when the accused dropped his trousers.

He pulled up his trousers and said “It’s only a laugh”, adding “I just want to f***”.

He sent more indecent messages to a teenage boy from his home on July 17, 2021.

Mr Munro said: “The complainer, aged 15, received a message from the accused.

“The complainer did not reply."

The court heard Byrne later attempted to induce a girl who was only 13 at the time to sleep in his bed with him after making further lewd sexual comments on August 9, 2021.

After telling her he had just sent another a text of a sexually explicit nature, Byrne told the young complainer she could "sleep in his bed".

Mr Munro added: “Police later attended reports that the accused was going to kill himself.

"He advised he had taken a quantity of tablets because ‘everyone thinks I’m a paedo’.

Not guilty pleas to two other charges on the Crown’s indictment were accepted by prosecutors.

Following Byrne's guilty plea, sentence was deferred for criminal justice social work reports and a full risk assessment and bail was continued.

When Byrne returned to court on Thursday, March 31, defence solicitor Hugh Duncan said his client had "co-operated fully" with the preparation of an "extensive" social work report.

Sheriff Foran added: “I think I detect his level of frankness”.

Mr Duncan continued: “At the time of the offences, he was having a fairly difficult time in his life - not exclusively with alcohol.

"It seems the situation was partly his involving himself in these behaviours.

Sheriff Foran added: “He just seems to have lost a grip on adult life."

Mr Duncan said: “He has realised his actions were abhorrent and is disgusted by his own behaviour.

“Mr Byrne realises he clearly has issues - issues he has tried to address with referring to the community mental health team.

“He has suffered consequences following [media] reports and had to leave his address.”

Mr Duncan said a risk assessment had found Byrne to be at 'moderate' risk of re-offending, and that any issues could be addressed via a court-ordered programme.

Sheriff Foran told Byrne: "You heard what I said about this indecent, abhorrent behaviour.

"I read the [social work] report and see a man of more than adequate intelligence.

“I don’t know what’s causing this – but you can’t continue. You need to address it.”

He was placed under supervision for three years as part of a community payback order and will be on the sex offenders register for the same length of time.

He was also ordered to take part in the Moving Forward, Making Changes programme – with aims to address sexual offenders' behaviour.

She added: “You will live only in a risk assessed address with no contact with any victim.

“You must inform social workers of any relationship with 17-year-olds and under."

Under the requirements of legislation on the monitoring of sex offenders, Byrne was ordered to report to police within three days of the hearing - and told that failure to do so could result in further prosecution.