Tuesday 23 October 2018

'They started kicking my front door' - Mother speaks of horror as home is mistakenly targeted by paedophile hunters

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Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A mother-of-two, whose home was mistakenly targeted by a group of masked paedophile hunters, has spoken about her ordeal.

The 34-year-old woman, who does not wish to be named, said she had just recently moved into the house in an estate in Antrim when it was targeted by self-styled paedophile hunters in a case of mistaken identity.

"A crowd of people got out of cars and they started banging and kicking at my front door, one of the women was screaming," she told BBC Northern Ireland.

The woman was at home with her two young children, aged seven and three, and her 66-year-old mother.

"They were all saying there was a paedophile in the house, but there was no man in the house, just me, my kids and my mother.

The woman condemned the gang's behaviour as "outrageous".

"One of the children was hiding under the bed and my mother was petrified and shaken afterwards.

"Now she doesn't want to leave the house."

Local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Seamus Davis said that he went to the house to investigate when he heard the gang outside.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "There were three or four cars full of people. I said 'look, you're in the wrong place' and they called me a pedophile lover.

"I told them I hate paedophiles as much as anybody else, but this way you are doing is totally wrong - this is a job for the police."

There are rising public concerns over the methods used by self-styled paedophile hunters - groups who pose as children online to catch potential sexual predators - and their lack of accountability.

The groups lure potential predators to meetings and film their encounters with them before uploading the footage online.

Paedophile hunters are prominent in Northern Ireland, where an estimated 10 groups are currently in operation, according to a recent report by the BBC.

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