Man escapes jail for lewd act at police patrolling dogging spot

Murdo McKenzie was unaware police officers were in the car. Picture: Stewart Robertson

Murdo McKenzie was unaware police officers were in the car. Picture: Stewart Robertson

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An elderly man who performed a sex act on himself in front of two police officers has walked free from court.

Murdo McKenzie was facing jail for masturbating as he walked up to the window of the car the officers were in.

The road leading to the Gleniffer Braes. Picture: Google Maps

The road leading to the Gleniffer Braes. Picture: Google Maps

But he avoided a spell behind bars after a sheriff placed him on a Community Payback Order and put him on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Paisley Sheriff Court heard that McKenzie, 65, was driving near to Glennifer Braes, a notorious dogging hotspot near Paisley, when the officers pulled over in front of him on March 14 this year.

Fiscal Depute Claire Nicholls explained: “The locus is a lay-by on Sergeantlaw Road, which leads up to the top of Glennifer Braes.

“At about 9.30pm police witnesses were on uniform mobile patrol in an unmarked police vehicle and were, at that time, sitting in a lay-by at the locus.

He thought it was someone he knew and that when they were braking, the application of the brake lights, had been them flashing him.

Sheriff McCartney

“They observed a blue Honda Civic pulling up directly behind the unmarked police vehicle, coming to a halt.

“They then observed the accused exiting the vehicle and walking to the near offside of their vehicle.

“They observed the accused remove his penis and he then began to masturbate whilst looking in the direction of the witnesses.

“They exited their police vehicle and, upon observing the witnesses in uniform, the accused immediately turned away and began to urinate, immediately stating, ‘I thought I knew you’.”

McKenzie, whose address was given on court papers as Kirkhaven Care Home, in Dalmarnock, Glasgow, was arrested and taken to Paisley’s Mill Street police office.

He made no reply when cautioned and charged and was due to go on trial last month charged with breaking Section 8 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 by exposing himself to the officers and masturbating.

But he struck a deal with prosecutors which saw him admit a charge of causing a breach of the peace by performing the sex act on himself.

Defence solicitor Nadine Dormer said McKenzie had never been in trouble with the law before and had no previous convictions.

She asked Sheriff Tom McCartney not to place McKenzie on the Sex Offenders’ Register, saying it was “an aberration” and did not cause any members of the public fear or alarm as it was directed towards two police officers.

She added: “The police car was in front of him and pulled into the lay-by.

“He thought it was someone he knew and that when they were braking, the application of the brake lights, had been them flashing him.

“He’s passed by and then turned round to go back.

“He did need to also urinate.

“As soon as they got out and he noticed they were in uniform he started to urinate - there was no persistence in his behaviour.”

Sheriff McCartney ruled there was “a significant sexual element” to the offence and said he felt he had to place McKenzie on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

He deferred sentence for McKenzie to be assessed by social workers and staff from the Pathways Project - an organisation that deal with sex offenders in Renfrewshire.

And when McKenzie, who is believed to be a worker at the care home he gave as his home address, returned to the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court this week he was allowed to keep his liberty.

He was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for six months and told he would be supervised by social workers for six-months as part of a Community Payback Order.

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