A CREEPY would-be uncle who bombarded his partner’s 14-year-old niece with disgusting Facebook messages will not be sent to prison.

Patrick Murray, 35, sent dozens of explicit texts via the social network’s Messenger service.

In one message, he asked the “extremely distressed” schoolgirl to engage in a live video call with him while he showered.

But despite attempting to “minimise” his offending during a pre-sentencing interview with social workers, Murray has been placed on a Community Payback Order instead of going to jail.

Sheriff David Hall said that he wanted to see if the pervert - who was living in Brydson Place, Linwood, at the time of the offence - was suitable for an offender rehabilitation programme.

He placed Murray on the Sex Offenders’ Register and ordered strict supervision within the community for three years so he can be closely monitored.

The decision came after defence lawyer Ellen Macdonald told Greenock Sheriff Court: “There is some sort of denial here regarding the impact of his offending.”

Sheriff Hall replied: “He has made efforts to minimise his involvement in an extremely serious offence against a 14-year-old girl.”

Following an adjournment, during which Murray was held in a court cell, Ms Macdonald said: “I’ve had some time to go over the report and it is accepted by him that he’s done himself no favours whatsoever. There is an underlying difficulty with drink.”

Ms Macdonald added that her client had lost his employment and his tenancy, become estranged from his family and was at risk of losing his liberty.

Murray’s offence happened after he added the girl, from Inverclyde, to his friends on Facebook, where her profile clearly states that she is aged 14.

He sent an initial text to her at around 2am on April 10, stating ‘Hi’, but his messages became sinister after the girl replied to a message sent that afternoon.

Prosecutor Kevin Doherty said: “The accused thereafter replied ‘Cool — just popping in a shower.’

“He then sent a request for a video call, which the complainer declined.”

Murray continued sending messages late into the night, leaving the schoolgirl “alarmed and concerned.”

Mr Doherty said: “He stated ‘I’m doing something — wanna see? Lol.’

“The complainer was now extremely concerned and replied ‘What?’

“Immediately, the accused messaged her in a sexualised way, telling her exactly what he was about to do.”

Mr Doherty added: “On receiving that message, the complainer was extremely distressed and she went to her mother and handed her her mobile phone.”

The court heard how Murray apologised when confronted by his now ex-partner — to whom he had sent similar messages — and explained that he was drunk.

Following his arrest, he replied “no comment” to questions put to him by the police.

He pleaded guilty to intentionally sending repeated sexual written communications to the girl.

As well as placing Murray on the register and under supervision, Sheriff Hall ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work within nine months.

Murray is due back in court in September for a review hearing as to his suitability for the rehabilitation programme.