8 Pedophiles Found Dead After Being Exposed by Vigilantes Online
Woman speaks out about discovering her father's secret after he was ousted by pedo hunters
A woman has spoken out about the horror she felt during the moment she discovered her father was an alleged pedophile after his secret was exposed by vigilantes in an online video.
The daughter of Michael Duff - who is one of eight men who committed suicide in the past six years after being shamed on the internet by "pedophile hunters" - says she made the gruesome discovery after seeing a video of her dad on Facebook that showed him allegedly trying to meet with a minor for sex.
Duff was questioned by police after footage showing him allegedly attempting to meet a 15-year-old for sex was posted online by a pedophile vigilante group known as "True Justice."
The 67-year-old was questioned on suspicion of attempting to meet a child under 16 following grooming and released on bail.
Two days later in July 2015, his body was found at his home in Tyne and Wear, UK.
Duff's daughter Lesley Henderson only found out her father had allegedly been grooming a young girl when a friend showed her a video that had been circulating on social media.
She told the Victoria Derbyshire programme: "My friend said, 'look, I don't really know how to say this to you Lesley, but there's a video going round on Facebook - it's your dad'.
"It was on Facebook and I could already see mutual friends had viewed it, so there was nothing I could do."
She told her daughter, then 15, "your grandad's a pedophile" and showed her the video - something she later regretted.
Someone she knew then posted footage of him being carried from his house to an ambulance in a body bag on Facebook.
According to the Daily Mail, Lesley and her daughter did not speak to Michael again after the allegations were made and she says she will never know the truth behind the claims.
She said she never suspected he "had another side which might lead him to contact a child."
His death has left his family with unanswered questions regarding his alleged actions.
Lesley had not spoken to her father since the allegations were made
Lesley told the BBC: "This could have been a one-off thing where he's done something stupid.
"I know people would say, 'well the thought was there,' but the reality is he may not have actually committed any crime at all.
"We don't know, because as soon as he [took his own life] the case was closed.
"I don't know what was on my dad's computer, if anything, and I'm never going to know because somebody deemed to put it all over Facebook rather than letting police deal with it."
The case was later referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and officers contacted those who uploaded the video and asked them to remove it as it "formed part of a live investigation."
The True Justice website later deleted the video.
Lesley told the BBC show that vigilante groups are hindering justice and said "pedophile hunters" needed to be made aware of the consequences of uploading such footage.
Groups including Dark Justice, Guardians Of The North, Huntz 2 Exposure, The Guardian Angels and Catching Online Predators often post videos - some broadcast live - of the men they 'snare' to thousands of followers online.
Vigilante groups command massive support and have formed a volunteer online taskforce, linked by Facebook groups and private mobile phone chat groups.
In 2017 evidence from vigilante groups was used to charge more than 150 suspects, a seven-fold increase in two years.
But police officers working in child protection have warned that vigilante activity puts both hunters and targets at risk.
However, hunters defend their actions, arguing they are helping to bring criminals to justice and expose offenders in communities.
Jamie Lee, 29, who describes himself as a "child protection enforcer" said he is performing a public service.
THE EIGHT MEN WHO TOOK THEIR LIVES AFTER BEING 'EXPOSED' BY PEDOPHILE HUNTER VIGILANTE GROUPS
Robert Pearson, 56, June 2018
Married Robert Pearson, 56, of Honley, West Yorkshire, was confronted in a video streamed live on Facebook on the doorstep of his home by a pedophile hunter who was working with a group called Team Impact.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and was jailed for eight months in March 2018.
He was also suspended by Kirklees Council, where he'd worked for 27 years.
He was found hanged in a field in Huddersfield on June 22, 2018.
Nigel Sheratt, 47, August 2018
The body of Nigel Sheratt, 47, was found at a house in Cannock, Staffordshire, in August 2018 two days after he was stopped by members of vigilante group Soul Survivors in his car.
The group posed as a 14-year-old girl in Facebook chats and claimed he had tried to groom her.
They also confronted him with printouts of messages containing sexually explicit language.
A relative denied the accusations against him, claiming there was "no investigation."
Although the video ends with Mr. Sheratt being taken to a patrol car, it is unclear if police had started any action against him.
Ricky Slade, 30, February 2017
Ricky Slade, from Nottingham, was arrested after chatting to members of a vigilante group called The Hunted One who had posed as girls aged 10, 12, and 14.
He admitted three counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to meet a child under 16 following grooming.
He was due to be sentenced for a string of offenses on February 16, 2017, and had been warned he faced jail.
But Slade, 30, was found dead at HMP Nottingham on February 3, 2017.
Unnamed man, August 2017
A married man from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, took his own life after he was named online by the group Silent Justice, accusing him of grooming what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
The man in his 50s was confronted at his home by the group and footage of the incident was published online.
He was named on Silent Justice's Facebook site before being arrested and interviewed but he took his own life days later.
David Baker, 43, October 2017
David Baker was arrested after a confrontation with the Trap vigilante group in Southampton on October 4, 2017.
He was questioned on suspicion of arranging to meet a child aged under 16 before being released under investigation.
The gardener was found dead at his home in Wickham, Hampshire, on October 7, after taking an overdose of prescription medication, an inquest was told.
Baker's fiancee, her daughter, and granddaughter fled their home after his arrest out of fear of an attack on the property.
Michael Duff, 67, July 2015
Michael Duff was questioned by police after footage allegedly showing him attempting to meet a 15-year-old for sex was posted online.
It is understood the 67-year-old was filmed in July 2015 by vigilante group "True Justice."
He was questioned on suspicion of attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming and released on bail.
His body was found two days later at his home in Tyne and Wear.
Michael Parkes, 45, May 2013
Michael Parkes, 45, was filmed in May 2013 by Stinson Hunter, who arranged to meet him after posing as a child online.
The father-of-one was arrested by Northamptonshire Police on suspicion of meeting someone he thought to be a 12-year-old girl for sex but was not charged.
An inquest heard he was found dead in his car with a ligature around his neck on June 2.
Northamptonshire Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of suicide, with the cause of death as hanging.
Gary Cleary, 29, May 2013
Gary Cleary was arrested by police after being confronted in public by the vigilante group called Letzgo Hunting.
The 29-year-old, who lived with his girlfriend, was released on bail while officers looked into the allegation.
He was found dead in the garage at his home four days later.
A coroner later recorded a verdict of suicide.