Robert Fleming bombarded the 17-year-old with almost 100 text messages in the space of just a few hours after the break-up and then his behaviour took a darker turn as he threatened to have sex with the young man’s mother and then posted his photograph on Instagram with some shocking – and untrue – captions.
Fleming appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday having pleaded guilty to engaging in a course of conduct which caused his 17-year-old former partner fear and alarm between November 17 and November 20 last year.
Sean Iles, procurator fiscal depute, said: “The complainer in this case is 17-years-old. He met the accused in January 2021 and they began a relationship together. Then the complainer told the accused he had met someone else.
"He then received 90 text messages in a row from the accused between 7pm on November 17 and 4am on November 18. He stated the complainer was a ‘paedo’ and made threats to ‘destroy him’
“He also claimed he was outside the complainer’s house. Then at 2am the complainer was wakened by a noise outside – the accused was shouting abuse at him, chanting ‘HIV, HIV’ and an number of other abusive comments.
"It was the complainer’s mother who called the police.”
If the young man thought that was the end of Fleming’s campaign of threats, he was sadly mistaken.
"The complainer was made aware by friends a photo had appeared on an Instagram account,” said Mr Iles. “It was a photo of the complainer with a caption stating ‘anyone ken this person, riddled with HIV, using people and sees them die’.
"Another photo of the complainer then appeared stating ‘anyone want his details to contract HIV?’ and ‘if you’re many of the unlucky ones to go near this slag go get tested’.”
When police caught up with Fleming, he expressed regret at what he had done.
Defence solicitor Simon Hutchison said: “He’s a 38-year-old man with no previous convictions and no offending history. It was the end of a difficult relationship – he was very bitter, started drinking too much and then hit out.
"He hit out very nastily and is the first person to admit that. He is very distressed at his own behaviour.”
Sheriff Derek Livingston noted Fleming may well have been distressed, but not as distressed at the 17-year-old who had lies posted about himself online.
He said: “I can only imagine the effect your behaviour had on him – having his private life spread over the Internet. It would have been humiliating and extremely distressing.
Sheriff Livingston ordered Fleming, 72 Glynwed Court, Falkirk, to pay the 17-year-old £1000 compensation at a rate of £100 per month.
He also made Fleming subject to a three-year non-harassment order not to go near or contact the young man and not to post anything about him online.