Tuesday 24 April 2018

Second victim of online mob branded a paedophile

Stock picture
Stock picture

Anne Lucey

A vulnerable man was accosted by a group of young people after being mistaken on Facebook for convicted paedophile Anthony Luckwill.

The man, aged in his 30s, has become the second innocent victim in less than a month to be confronted after being mistaken for the sex offender.

He had been waiting for a lift in Castleisland, Co Kerry, on Wednesday afternoon, but was followed by a group of young people.

Comments were posted on Facebook after he was erroneously identified as the recently released criminal.

Gardaí on the beat quickly discovered his true identity and told individuals pursuing him he had been misidentified. Despite this, accusations were subsequently posted on social media.

Local Garda Sergeant John O'Mahony was approached at around 4pm by a group of teenagers and shown photographs.

He approached the victim, quickly ascertaining his identity. It is understood he had been followed at a distance by the young people.

The sergeant told the locals to go their way.

The man, who is from north Kerry, has health issues and was described as "vulnerable" by Sgt O'Mahony.

He had been in Castleisland to attend an appointment and took his lift as arranged.

However, later on Wednesday, at around 8pm, gardaí became aware of "horrible nasty comments" about the innocent man on Facebook.

The man's photograph was placed alongside that of the convicted paedophile online.

There were suggestions of vigilante type action against him.

At around 11.30pm, gardaí approached a number of people directly to ask them to take down the comments.

The man's family were informed and are "deeply upset" and "shattered" by the whole issue, Sgt O'Mahony said.

"This was way out of order. This is a vulnerable young man," Sgt O'Mahony said.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company is investigating the matter.

In a separate incident last month, Government employee Dave Murray was also mistakenly identified as Luckwill.

He was confronted by a frenzied mob in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, after his photo was posted by a member of the public on the Facebook page of 'Kildare Now'.

He required garda protection. The Press Council called for regulation of social media.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News