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Sep

Manhunt for key


suspect behind
Parsons Green
Tube explosion.
Sat

16th
V
For
Police arrest an 18
year-old man in
connection with the
Parsons Green terror
attack in West London

“WE DEPEND ON

Vigilante
THE BRITISH”
Spanish citizens warn
leaders not to mess
with Gibraltar.
Spanish citizens who
live close to the border
with Gibraltar vent their
fury with their Government’s
hardline approach to
overseas territory.

Ed Sheeran and U2 Sun On the 18th September The UK’s lead police
cancel US gigs amid
fears of further 17th officer on child protection told press that Sun
St Louis Protests.
They cancel concerts in police and paedophile hunters may have to 3rd
the US city amid security
fears over protests work together in the future.
following the acquittal of a
police officer who killed BETH JACKSON investigates the growing trend
a black man.
of vigilante paedo-hunters across the UK.
“PRESIDENT TRUMP

U
HAS AN AFFECTION Illustrations: Beth Jackson
FOR THE
UNITED KINGDOM"
Theresa May unveils
nder the cover of online anonymity,
latest plans for Donald seemingly ordinary people across
Trump’s state visit to
Britain. The British Prime the UK are arming themselves with
Minister said she “gets on” a supply of second-hand mobile
with the billionaire
businessman as she phones and profile pictures of underage girls
defended her relationship
with Donald Trump. and boys. Waging the modern war against sexual
. predators, groups work up to 17 hours a day as
Police forces may work Mon self-appointed ‘paedophile hunters’ confronting
with vigilante paedophile
hunters says Chief 18th potential offenders in supermarket car parks and
Constable Simon Bailey.
Senior officers have posting the footage online.
previously said vigilante
groups such as
Dark Justice or The The number of these groups has spiked after a
Hunted One could put
child abuse investigations disturbing timeline of child sexual abuse, includ-
at risk. The number of ing the Jimmy Savile scandal, cast doubt in the
cases being closed due to
evidence gathered by minds of the British public about the effective-
the groups has soared
figures reveal. ness of those in charge.
“We were forced to do something” ‘Scott’ tells me, our place.” Online self-regulation isn’t something all
“we’re being failed by the government and seeing a groups follow, earlier this year The Hunted One, was
rising number of problems online.” One half of the forced to give up posting live video footage after a
group Dark Justice, together ‘Scott’ and ‘Calum’ both confrontation with a suspected sex offender led to a
in their twenties, have amassed over 175,000 likes on mass brawl streamed live to their social network page
Facebook and have established themselves as one of which has over 70,0000 likes.
the biggest ‘paedophile hunter’ groups in the UK. Pae-
dophile hunting is a sure-fire way to gain viral fame,
but it’s also proven effective. Scott and Calum say their Going Viral
group alone has led to 104 arrests and 50 convictions.
The hunters repeatedly questioned the man: “you’re here
to meet a child for sex, yeah?” in a video broadcast in
The rising number of problems online has led to a
shaky mobile phone footage. The clip culminates in the
rapid incline in the groups created to stop them. Chief accused being repeatedly kicked and punched before the
Constable Simon Bailey told press earlier this year shopping centre’s security guards step in. One group who
that these groups were putting the lives of children still insist on broadcasting live on social media is One
at risk. “They might not perceive it that way,” he said Reason, a group of self-described ‘decoys’ who said, “live
at the time, “but they are potentially compromising videos are there to show the suspect hasn't been hurt
our operations.” And the problem isn’t going away, “I while being detained and also used as evidence in court.”


would encourage them all to stop,
but I recognise that I am not win-
ning that conversation, (working
Paedophiles In October this year, Southampton
based paedophile hunter Stephen
with them) is something we’re go- should be Dure of T.R.A.P took to Facebook to
post one of his latest ambushes in-
ing to have to potentially look at”.
exposed, volving 43-year-old David Baker. Just

they’re a danger to
It would be easy to dismiss these three days after the video went viral,
groups as simple vigilantism, but Baker killed himself. Dure often posts
Simon Bailey is right in his as- our society and a his footage online before handing it
to police, preferring to take justice
sumption that he is not winning
the conversation. The ‘hunter’ phe- cancer towards our into his own hands. Dure declined to
comment but told his Facebook fans
nomenon is fuelled by its online
popularity and the public concern future adults.” “Ok so David Baker who we caught
this week has been found dead (sui-
that police cuts mean sex offenders
cide) our hearts go out to his family
are potentially roaming free. A BBC at this time… This is another reason why these people
report published earlier this year shows that evidence shouldn't be bailed as they are a risk to themselves as
gathered by vigilante groups was used in 44% of court well as others.” Dure previously told ‘i News’: “There is
cases for the crime of meeting a child after sexual an argument (the men he accuses) are not convicted yet,
grooming in 2016. This isn’t to say it doesn’t come but I don’t trust our system and the law and the courts. In
with huge implications; false accusations, harassment my eyes, they’re already convicted. I don’t catch innocent
of the accused’s family, destruction of evidence and people. The way we hunt means everyone’s guilty.”
live streaming of ‘stings’ are having a frightening im-
pact on our legal system. Scott says Dark Justice is in it for the right reasons, “some
people doing this work are sadly just in it for the clicks,
However, Dark Justice insists they always work within likes and shares on Facebook live videos. We’re in it for
the law, “what we post online is 100% legal, and the the children; we just want change.” But is vigilantism the
police can’t really tell us to remove something, we pro- change we need? “Paedo-hunters don’t actually work to
tect the identity of a person we catch until they have protect children from abuse, they just increase hysteria
been to court. It’s a human right to have a fair trial and cause unnecessary victimisation,” says Candice
if we name them online and accuse them of some- Christiansen, therapist and CEO of The Prevention
thing we have already said they are guilty. This isn’t Project. Candice, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse
so severe it left her unable to have children, created accept or support any other form of vigilantism, why
The Prevention Project, believing intervention is the would “paedo vigilantism” be any different? These
change we need. She believes if we separate our ideas people don’t give a shit about children, they just to it
of paedophiles and sex offenders we can actually pro- for the power trip of catching a ‘pervert nonce’.” Ender
tect children from sexual abuse, “it’s ignorance, paedo- added, “you can think that the people they entrap were
phile doesn’t equal child molester.” willing to meet a child for sex, and that’s true. But they
actually didn’t, because there was no child, so they
Candice primarily works with ‘non-offending, an- committed no crime. You don’t know how contrived
ti-contact paedophiles’ offering them therapy and sup- the conversations would be between the pretend child
port, “a lot of the time paedophiles have suffered trau- and the ‘paedo’. In some cases, the ‘child’ probably be-
ma themselves, we also work with many paedophiles haved in a way no real child would, and therefore that
who are on the autistic spectrum” Candice sighs, “but person would most likely go through his life without
that is a whole other issue in itself… What we would ever going beyond being slightly creepy on a chat.”
like to see is people turn their attention to the hor-
rible people who make these awful abusive videos of The idea that we should focus on preventing child
children online. Misinformation (about paedophilia) abuse not just punishing offenders has been sup-
perpetuates undue harm and does nothing to prevent ported by UK police. Last year Chief Superintendent
child sexual abuse, a person who molests a child may Gavin Thomas said we need to “rethink” our current
not actually be attracted to children.” approaches to sex offenders. Concerned there are too


many paedophiles to simply

Being a paedophile
“For us, the term ‘paedophile imprison them all, he said at
hunter’ in itself is an oxymo- the time “one of the major
ron” she says. “Paedophiles are
anti-contact, non-offending,
has one symptom concerns is managing the
register already, and its grow-
innocent, law-abiding people and one symptom ing.”
who have an attraction, they
don’t need to be hunted, this only: we are attracted In April, this year Mr Jus-
could push them further un-
derground away from seeking
to children instead tice Langstaff ruled in a
ground-breaking case that
help and closer to offending.” of adults.” Dark Justice could continue
posing as children online, he
The idea that paedophiles are the ones who need help said their activities did not need to be regulated. Over
sits uneasily with ‘Gary’, creator of the online group recent years the news has been littered with stories of
UK Paedos Exposed, which gains tens of thousands those who have taken justice into their own hands in-
of followers a year. “Paedophiles should be exposed,” cluding the murder of a man who was beaten to death
he says. “They’re a danger to our society and a cancer and set on fire in the street after being falsely accused
towards our future adults.” of being a paedophile by his neighbours. Some groups
still display the name vigilante on their social media
‘Ender Wigan’ is a man in his late thirties, married, pages like a badge of honour while others work hard
with children and living a happy and successful life. to distance themselves from the term, “we’re not both-
He’s also a non-offending paedophile. Ender insists ered what we get called” says Scott, “at the end of the
he is not “sick, depraved or a monster” and he doesn't day we sleep well at night knowing we are fighting for
have a desire to harm children. “Paedophiles don’t ‘get a change.”
off ’ on the idea of dominating or raping children, be-
ing a paedophile has one symptom and one symptom
only: we are attracted to children instead of adults.”

“As for paedophile hunters,” he says, “the police should


do everything in their power to stop them. We don't