A creep who left a 12-year-old girl 'horrified' when he sent her sick pictures of himself in a hot tub has been spared a prison term.

Sex offender David Mitchell - a former friend of the girl's family - send the lewd, sexual messages to the girl via Facebook Messenger and Snapchat over a period of more than eight months.

Mitchell, 53, committed the vile offences at his home in Cloverhill, Ayr and while at a hotel in Malta - and was arrested when he returned from a business trip.

The offences were committed between November 21, 2021 and July 29 last year.

The victim stated she felt "weirded out" by bespectacled Mitchell's repeated contact.

Mitchell pleaded guilty when he appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court on February 22. 

The procurator fiscal depute told that hearing: “The complainer named is now 13 but was 12 at the time of the offence.

“On July 24, 2022 the witness observed a Facebook message, with him topless in a hot tub with wine in his hand.”

The prosecutor said the witness felt ‘horrified’.

While at the Marriot Hotel in Malta, Mitchell later sent two videos to the girl, in one of which he was only wearing a pair of shorts.

The court heard Mitchell messaged the girl to say “what you up to”, “I’m walking home pished, what you doing tonight?”, “what are you getting for Christmas?” and asking how many Valentine’s she had received.

Among the seedy messages he also said “sorry I can’t help myself” and “Hi gorgeous”.

The complainer told a friend she felt ‘weirded out’ by the messages.

The fiscal depute added: “On August 1, the accused was arrested at Edinburgh Airport on returning from a business trip, and his phone was seized.

“He was cautioned and charged and released on an undertaking [to appear later in court].”

Sentence was deferred at February's hearing for background reports and a risk assessment to be prepared, and Mitchell was put on the sex offenders register.

Defence solicitor Derek Pettigrew asked that Mitchell’s bail be continued, and Sheriff Shirley Foran deferred sentence for reports and a risk assessment.

Mitchell was sentenced at Ayr Sheriff Court on Tuesday, April 4 - although in a last-minute move, his case was switched to another courtroom from the one originally listed, meaning the press was not present when the case called for sentencing.

However, the Advertiser has been told by Mitchell's solicitor that a prison sentence was not imposed and that he was instead placed on a community payback order with three years of social work supervision.

He will be on the sex offenders register for the same length of time.