A WOMAN who confronted a man under investigation over allegations he sent sexual messages to a child has been convicted of verbally abusing him.

Gillian Gault, 35, made a beeline across a street in Port Glasgow and branded him a 'beast' and 'sex offender'.

A youth who was with her at the time of the incident ran up behind the man and punched him to the side of his face, a trial at Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

The man has not been charged with any sexual offence.

He told the court: "I am marked down as a vulnerable adult, although I don't think I am.

"I felt intimidated and disgusted."

The man told how he'd gone out for a walk shortly after 9pm on February 15 and was at Marloch Avenue when he came across Gault and the youth.

He said: "They crossed to my side of the road and they were verbally abusing me.

"They were calling me a beast and a sex offender.

"I walked on a wee bit and the youth ran at me and punched me.

"I phoned the police and once I got into my street the police car was right behind me."

The man agreed with defence lawyer Derek Buchanan that there was 'ongoing friction' between him and Gault and that the matter involves the police.

He rejected a suggestion that he had approached her to tell her to 'stop telling lies' about him.

The court heard that Gault was standing across the road from the man's flat as the police came out, and appeared to be intoxicated when she said: "Are yous looking for me?"

The trial was told that she also stated: "He's a beast — you don't know the background to this. I shouted and swore at him."

Sheriff Michael Higgins found Gault guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.

The sheriff said: "I consider that the evidence of the complainer was given in a straightforward manner and I found him to be a credible and reliable witness."

Lawyer Mr Buchanan said: "The complainer is being investigated, and I put it no higher than that, over allegations he sent sexual communications to a child."

Sheriff Higgins deferred sentence on Gault until October 13 for her to be of good behaviour.