Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Vigilante gets a dose of his own medicine by being labeled a "paedo" on the internet, now fears for his life
Paedophiles get revenge on vigilante who brought 28 sex offenders to justice
Martine Berg Olsen Tuesday 7 Aug 2018 11:54 am
Paedophiles have sought revenge by portraying a vigilante, who has brought 28 sex offenders to justice, as a paedophile. Josh Blakely was forced to stop hunting for paedophiles and is too afraid to leave the house in fear of being attacked if someone recognises him from the six-month online hate campaign. The 38-year-old, from West Kensington, London, said: ‘I fear for my own safety now. If someone recognises me from what they have done I could be attacked by people thinking I am a sex offender.
‘People attack sex offenders in their society and people might think I am a sex offender if they see this online. ‘It’s taken my identity away from me, it’s taken my freedom away from me. They control my life.’ Blakely believes members of a paedophile ring, who feared he would target them next, stole images of him and created dozens of fake social media accounts, videos and website to wrongly paint him as a sex offender. The trolls even photoshopped images of Blakely to make it look like he had publicly demonstrated in a campaign to reduce the age of consent to six years old. He’s ‘pictured’ with a poster that reads: ‘I Josh Blakely demand Govt to lower the legal age of consent to six years old for boys and girls. Paedophiles are people! #SexWithKids.’
He now fears the next step is to try to set him up as a paedophile and make it look like he is trying to groom a child. Blakely said: ‘They have taken serious allegations to the police about the hunting community to try to get people arrested.
‘It’s very dangerous. They even posted up my home address and made threats to come and get me. ‘I am waiting for them to use my personal image to set me up and potentially use my “profile” to pretend to be me to groom a child. ‘Then they would use that evidence to set me up for an arrest and possible imprisonment for something I’ve never done. That is really scary for me.’ Despite Blakely reporting the images and social media pages, new Twitter profiles, YouTube accounts and LiveLeak videos describing him as a ‘nonce’ and a member of a ‘child porn paedophile ring’ continuously pops up. He said: ‘I have this fear that someone will recognise me and think I am a sex offender and I will be attacked or even killed.’
‘I don’t even go out and socialise anymore, I am single and shut myself in my own home like a prisoner.’ Blakely said he’s struggling to get a job because every time employers Google him ‘sex offender’ is the first thing they see. He said: ‘I can’t get employment because employers won’t want to employ someone that everywhere says is a sex offender. Even though I can prove that I am not a sex offender it doesn’t stop them from thinking it.’ Blakely continued: ‘I feel I know who it is – it is paedophiles who we have tried to expose or who feel threatened by the work we did. ‘I became well-known and respect in the community through the good work we were doing catching these paedophiles.
‘However looking back, I think I left myself open to threat without realising it. I opened myself up to too much.’ Blakely, who used to hunt paedophiles under the name Public Justice PHL, said: ‘I never did it to get famous and never got paid for what I did. I did it purely to ensure these kids got justice and to make sure these people weren’t out there doing this.
‘I have not committed any criminal offence. All I have done is protected children from being abused. It feels wrong then that I should be punished for it in this way.’ Blakely said he had applied for Google’s ‘right to be forgotten’ under EU laws, but they said due to ‘public interest’ they couldn’t remove some of the content. He added: ‘They presumably think I am a sex offender. ‘I think this is outrageous. It allows me to be made out to be a sex offender. Even when one of them is deleted, more pop up. I’ve had tons removed but they will be at it again a week later.
‘It’s like social media is responsible for it as well. They are allowing these things to remain up there.’ He explained that he has taken evidence into the police station but said ‘they don’t take it very seriously.’ A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘[We] can confirm officers from Hammersmith and Fulham are investigating allegations of malicious communications via social media. ‘The allegations were reported by the male victim on 25 Feb 2018. A number of inquiries are currently ongoing. ‘The victim has been updated as to the status of the investigation and advised that allegations of this nature can take time to investigate. There have been no arrests.’
Google also confirmed that they were in contact with Blakely and that they have taken action on some of the content. A Facebook spokesperson said: ‘There is no place for bullying or harassment on Facebook, which is why we have spent over a decade introducing new features and tools to keep people safe and have a positive experience. ‘We encourage Mr Blakely to continue reporting any incidents of trolling so we can remove content which violate our standards, as we have done previously.’ Despite Blakely claiming he had reported the online abuse to LiveLeak, a spokesperson said they could not find any reports in their system, but have subsequently removed one of the offending videos. A Twitter spokesperson said they were unable to comment on individual accounts.