A terrified female lawyer was followed for miles before eventually having to fight off a sinister stranger in a lay-by.

The solicitor had to defend herself when creepy predator Craig Denim tried to force himself on her at the side of the A9 trunk road.

Denin made the woman think something was wrong with her vehicle, but when she reluctantly pulled over, he told her: "I pulled you over because you're tidy.”

The 22-year-old telecoms engineer dodged a prison sentence today (Wednesday) despite a court being told he was a "predator" who tried to blame his innocent victim.

Perth Sheriff Court heard how the lawyer, who is in her mid-20s, tried to bluff her way out of the situation before pushing Denim off and speeding away from the scene. She called police when she noticed her pursuer was still on her tail.

Denim admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and placing his victim in a state of fear or alarm on November 17, 2020.

Fiscal depute Catherine Fraser told the court the solicitor noticed Denim's car at around 6.30pm, as she drove south along the A90 Perth to Dundee road.

"She became aware of a grey Renault Megane overtaking her vehicle and then slowing down. It did this four or five times," she said.

When the lawyer overtook his car she saw Denim flashing his lights in her rear-view mirror.

"She thought this was strange and thought there was perhaps something wrong with her car." Denim indicated left, as if advising the solicitor to pull over.

"As she reached the Broxden roundabout and joined the A9, the vehicle continued to follow her," Ms Fraser told the court.

"Concerned there was something wrong with her vehicle, the complainer pulled into a lay-by to check. She saw the Megane pull in behind her."

The woman kept an eye on Denim's car as she went to check her rear lights. Her car had no obvious problem, so she returned to the driver's seat.

"She observed the accused getting out of his car. He came over and chapped on the window of the complainer's vehicle.

"She rolled down the window to ask what he wanted. At that point, he pulled open the driver's door." Denim said: "I pulled you over because you're tidy."

The court was told that the victim had no idea how to respond to Denim's comment or his follow-up question asking her age.

Denim then demanded a kiss and asked: "Can I give you a snog?"

In a bid to deter Denim, the quick-thinking lawyer said she would give him her phone number if he left her alone.

"At the time he was holding on to the driver's side of the door and she wasn't able to close it. She felt scared for her safety.

"He then leaned into the vehicle as if to give her a kiss, but she was able to lean away from him. She put her hand up to create some distance between them."

Ms Fraser said: "The accused then took out his mobile phone to put in her number. At this point, the complainer took the opportunity to push him out of the car and pull the door closed.

"She then reversed and sped off to get away from him. However, she was soon aware he had caught up with her and was tailgating her.

"The complainer was extremely frightened for her safety because of the way he was acting."

She called her mother and told her what was happening. "Her mum could hear she was panicked. The complainer then contacted the police.

"She pulled in at Stirling service station where officers attended. They observed that she was upset and distressed."

Investigators traced the Megane, and established that it was registered to Denim's father, who confirmed his son had been driving at the time in question.

Denim, of Pladda Terrace, Irvine, was arrested and interviewed but gave "no comment" responses.

Sheriff Rory Bannerman noted that social workers had highlighted issues around "victim blaming, predatory conduct and the vulnerability of the complainer".

The sheriff placed Denim under social work supervision for two years and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Denim's lawyer told the court: "This has given him the fright of his life." He said Denim was still working as a telecoms engineer.

Sheriff Bannerman said: "Your client indicates this has given him the fright of his life. I have little doubt the complainer received the fright of her life."