A man who plastered claims over the Internet that his 17-year-old ex-partner had HIV was told by a sheriff the only thing keeping him out of jail was that he was a first offender.
Robert Fleming, 38, messaged that he would “destroy” the teenager, who had just ended their relationship and told him he had met someone new.
Over a period of nine hours, he sent the youngster 90 text messages.
He also turned up outside the victim’s house, in Falkirk, where the teenager lived with his parents and family, at 2am, and woke the boy up by chanting “HIV, HIV”.
The 17-year-old’s family phoned police, but Fleming posted pictures of the boy on Instagram, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told.
Emblazoned across one was the caption, “Anyone ken this c*nt? Riddled with HIV. Happily uses c*nts, then sees them die.”
Prosecutor Sean Iles said Fleming was arrested and made “a number of admissions”.
He also “expressed regret”.
The court heard there was “absolutely no basis” in the suggestion that the boy had HIV.
Fleming, of Grahamston, Falkirk, pleaded guilty to stalking the boy over a three-day period, between November 17 and 20, 2021.
Solicitor Simon Hutchison, defending, said Fleming had enjoyed “a good upbringing, and had some extremely responsible jobs”.
He said: “This was the end of a very difficult relationship. Mr Fleming was very bitter and he hit out very nastily.”
Sheriff Derek Livingston sentenced Fleming to pay the boy £1000 compensation and imposed a two-year non-harassment order, forbidding him from going near his victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – and from posting anything about him.
The sheriff said: “It’s really only the fact that you are a first offender that stops me from imposing custody.
“I can only imagine the effect of your behaviour on this young man, having pictures of himself spread over the Internet and having the suggestion made that he was suffering from HIV.”
Leaving court, Fleming ignored a reporter’s request for a comment.