A Carluke carpet-fitter told a client that he would have let her off paying him for his services if she had performed a sex act on him instead, Lanark Sheriff Court heard on Thursday.
A plea of guilty was entertained by Scott Brown, 27, to the charge that, on August 27, he sent a text message to the woman customer that was grossly offensive in that it contained sexually explicit and suggestive comments.
The court was told that the woman, not being named due to the nature of the crime, had needed a carpet fitted at her Crawfordjohn home and had been given Brown’s number by a friend.
She phoned him and, as arranged, he turned up at her home at 10am on July 27 and started work. She later had to leave on business but left him to get on with the job, paying him the agreed £75 fee, plus a £5 tip. She left her daughter in the house with Brown.
In the afternoon, she received a text message from Brown asking ‘happy with job?’
Not yet having returned home, she replied that she had been pleased with the work he had done before she left that morning.
About an hour later, she was surprised to receive another message from Brown, asking if she would like to go out for a meal with him sometime or for a run in his car?
She politely declined, saying she already had a partner, but thanked him for asking.
The next text from Brown, a few minutes later, was far less romantic than the previous one.
In it, he said that he was “gutted” by her reply and added that, if her daughter had not been present that morning, she could have performed a sex act on him and he would not have charged her for the carpet-fitting.
She was badly disturbed at receiving this message and burst into tears. She then sent a reply, saying she didn’t want any further contact with him.
In rapid succession, Brown then sent three text messages saying he was sorry and wouldn’t contact her again.
She did not initially call the police, but the incident preyed on her mind for the next two weeks and she eventually decided to report the matter.
Shortly afterwards, police arrived at her home to question her and to see the text messages.
Officers contacted Brown, of Wilton Road, and he voluntarily went to Lanark police station for questioning and was then cautioned and charged.
In reply to the charge, he said: “I regret it big time. I was silly. I just wanted to ask her out.”
A solicitor acting for Brown said that, after fitting the woman’s carpet, his client had gone for a drink with a friend and was intoxicated when he sent the messages.
The solicitor called it “a momentary indiscretion”, adding that Brown’s last conviction had been in 2007 and he’d never committed an offence of this sort before. “It was a daft thing to do with serious consequences,” he said.
Sheriff Robert Weir deferred sentence for six months to see if “this was a one-off aberration”.