Paedophile hunter in Warwickshire

Stinson HunterPicture from The BBC

BBC News reported yesterday that a man from Warwickshire has been posing as a young girl on the Internet in an attempt to catch suspected paedophiles.

The man, who reportedly calls himself ‘Stinson Hunter’ poses as a 14 or 15 year old girl on dating sites, and arranges meetings in public places. The BBC report carried a quote from the man:

“They’re on the back foot, they’re thinking they’re meeting a child and they’re accosted by two blokes, or three blokes sometimes, obviously we make sure we tell them there’s going to be no violence.”

It appears that Stinson Hunter, along with 2 or 3 others, set up and film the men who turn up to meet the fictional teenage girl.

The BBC reported that a police spokesperson confirmed that a man was ‘arrested on suspicion of inciting a minor to engage in sexual activity’, after footage [presumably of the man turning up to meet a 14/15 year old girl] was posted on YouTube.

That offence doesn’t exist. It is likely that the offences that would be charged are:

  1. causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity (SOA 2003 s 10) (max sentence 14 years)
  2. arranging or facilitating a child sex offence (SOA 2003 s 14) (max sentence 14 years)
  3. grooming (SOA 2003 s 15) (max sentence 10 years)

Are Stinson Hunter and his associates committing an offence?

Well, it rather depends on exactly what Stinson Hunter and his associates do when these men turn up to meet the fictional girl.

Battery – A battery is committed when a person intentionally and recklessly applies unlawful force to another.

Common assault – An assault is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force.

It is possible when the men accost the alleged paedophiles, that they are guilty of common assault or battery.

False imprisonment – Imprisonment must involve confinement to a limited area: mere restriction on freedom of movement, such as blocking one exit from a house while allowing another, does not qualify. In other words the boundary must be a closed loop of 360°. (Taken from the Law Commission consultation paper on Kidnap)

Kidnap – (An aggravated form of false imprisonment) The House of Lords defined kidnapping as an attack on and infringement of the personal liberty of an individual, consisting of the taking or carrying away of one person by another by force or by fraud, without the consent of the person so taken or carried away and without lawful excuse, R v D 1984 1 AC 778

For kidnap and false imprisonment, there is a defence of lawful excuse, however this may be difficult to establish successfully. See this cautionary tale of a citizen’s arrest.

Civil law Stinson Hunter and his associates may also be liable in civil law. Assault and battery and false imprisonment are torts; they are instances of trespass against the person. Interestingly, this dual character (being both a criminal offence and a civil tort) dates back to the 13th century.

Sex offences It may be that they are also guilty of arranging or facilitating a child sex offence, SOA 2003 s 14. Even though there is no ‘real’ child, the suspected paedophiles are likely to be guilty of one of the offences listed above.

Vigilantism

The police naturally were keen to discourage members of the public taking the law into their own hands:

“We do not encourage vigilantism of this kind and would warn those who take this approach that they could be breaking the law.

“They could also be disrupting criminal investigations and compromising the safety of vulnerable victims who would be best protected by the police.”

But what about the citizen’s arrest element to this?

As we covered earlier in the week with the emergence of Batman in Bradford, citizen’s arrests can be problematic. However, in this case, it is unclear exactly what Stinson Hunter and his associates are doing. It appears that they aren’t performing a citizen’s arrest, and are merely ‘catching’ them and recording the meeting.

What about entrapment? Isn’t that illegal?

Well, when police conduct amounts to state generated crime, it may be that the court can stay the indictment as an abuse of process.

However, here, that appears to be highly unlikely. There are numerous cases where police have posed as young girls and boys in chatrooms and the like and arrange to meet men and women. At the meetings the men and women are usually arrested.

There are also many incidents where journalists have done the same. Some cases are R v Tonnessen 1998 2 Cr App R (S) 328, R v Barnett 2008 1 Cr App R (S) 61 and R v Pennant 2009 EWCA Crim 845. In some instances, the court will reduce a sentence to take account of the element of agents provocateur.

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11 thoughts on “Paedophile hunter in Warwickshire

  1. John Allman

    A girl of 14 or 15 isn’t a “young” girl. Somebody who is interested in meeting girls of 14 or 15, isn’t a “paedophile”. So they won’t catch any predatory paedophiles using this modus operandi. A true predatory paedophile is likely only to be caught, by the agent provocateur pretending, for example, to be 8 years old, or at most 12 and admitting to being “under-developed” for her age.

    A real 14 or 15 year-old female genuinely looking for sexual adventure with a much, much older male, of whom there are not very many I wouldn’t have thought, is likely to lie that she is already 16. Any man who flirts online with a girl who admits to being only 14 or 15, and then arranges to meet her, ought to foresee that he is walking into a trap such as this, a sting operation.

    So, this TV programme should be regarded as being for low-brow entertainment purposes only. It’s educational and crime-prevention value is limited. It doesn’t address the very dangerous problem of predatory paedophiles at all.

    I don’t think that grooming mid-teens is a hobby that is in good taste, an acceptable way of getting one’s kicks. But I’m not impressed at Stinson Hunter’s self-righteous way of getting HIS kicks either, or that of his audience.

    Reply
  2. Jim Bentley

    Couldn’t agree more John, I attempted to contact “Stinson” on twitter and asked him why he wears a mask, when he responded aggressively I told him that I thought he’s a coward for trying to be a public figure while hiding behind a pseudonym, a gas mask or blurring his face (In some videos he blurs his face out and promises to blur out the faces of his subjects and then fails to do so, in others he suggests passers by should assault his subject). It’s obvious he wants to build a career out of this but is just doing it for kicks.

    There are also videos of him on You Tube abusing younger players of the game Minecraft where he destroys buildings children have built in the virtual world and then enjoys winding them up about it and another (since removed) where for no reason he smashed up a bass guitar with a mallet, very respectable public figure in the making.

    Anyway, after I told him I thought he was a coward what followed was 12 hours of constant abuse on twitter from his followers, anonymous users and made up accounts (most probably by the man himself) suggesting I may be a child molester myself. Bit sad really.

    Reply
  3. Lucy

    Couldn’t agree more with the gentlemen. Paedophiles look for children from babies to 10 years old. What Stinson is effectively doing is making sure these potential no real offence has taken place regarding paedophilia .Stinson’s campaign is very similar to the CHRIS campaign who claimed to expose paedophiles requesting donations to help with costs. The only difference between the creator of chris and stinson, stinson goes out chasing them.

    Reply
  4. Will

    what a load of bull, I cant believe your saying that. These people who he has exposed, some even in positions of trust such as teachers and councilors could possibly abuse a underage girl, and she could be to scarred to tell anyone! He is exposing dirty old perverts how is that ever a bad thing?
    A girl of 14 or 15 isn’t a “young” girl. Somebody who is interested in meeting girls of 14 or 15, isn’t a “paedophile”
    really? do you have kids? they are not just going to meet someone there own age, at 14 or 15 you are a child!! They are men older than 25-30 years of age who want to have sex or see naked photos of underage kids.

    As for Mr Hunter himself he’s someone who is as far as myself and others are concerned carrying out a valuable service, he wears a mask or blurs his face more than likely as he wasnt to one day walk away from it, as he states in his videos, hes still young so there may be behavior that some of us may not agree with, HOWEVER you don’t see him meeting with 14 year old girls after being on the the phone with them asking them to show him there breasts so who gives a monkeys.

    He IS making a difference by exposing these people and confronting them.

    In what world do you live in where people do nothing about these people? Then they are free to be the next jimmy savile’s!

    I strongly disagree with your comments John Allman, and think im also quite disturbed at some of your comments at what you ‘think’ a child wants sexually.

    Reply
    1. John Allman

      @ Will

      I have three grown-up daughters, a grown-up son, and another son who is still a child. I also have seven grandchildren. two of them already in adolescence.

      I consider that the risk to a 14 year girl’s chastity is usually far greater from boy’s her own age, or slightly older, than from adult men.

      I said nothing at all about what what 14 or 15 year old girls want, other than that I “wouldn’t have thought” that many of them were genuinely looking for sexual adventure with much older males.

      My point is that this vigilante isn’t catching any actual predatory *paedophiles* at all by his methods, and never will. Find out the proper meaning of the word “paedophile”, and you will become able to work this out for yourself.

      Reply
    2. Sam

      I wonder how many of the self-righteous individuals up there on their moral high horse were sexually active BEFORE the legal age of consent in the UK. I also wonder how many had boyfriends/girlfriends/casual encounters with 1) someone over the age of 16 when they were underage or 2) with someone under the age of 16 when they were over 16 themselves.

      Whatever the men encountered by Stinson Hunter they are unlikely to be predatory paedophiles who wouldn’t be easily caught out.

      And cursory research would also enlighten you as follows:

      1) Paedophilia is a term used to describe individuals aged 16 years and over with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children generally aged 13 years or younger.

      2) Nepiophilia (Infantophilia) is paedophilia, but is used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (ages 0–3 or those under age 5).

      3) Hebephilia is defined as individuals with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in 11-14 year old pubescents.

      4) Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.

      Reply
  5. Lucy

    @ Will i agree that these men are perverts but they are not predatory paedophiles. Agree also that you should seek out the definition of paedophile, usually it’s people are looking for children from birth to prepubescent.

    These men that are being entrapped will probably get off with cautions, free to go and fulfill their wishes, it is a very possible outcome. So whats gained? What could most likely happen these ‘men’ could scream their human rights have been violated and be paid compensation if they win(atm several at taking action for compensation due to being named and shamed). Is that right? Why should vile perverts be given a voice?

    Reply
  6. John Allman

    @ Lucy

    “Why should vile perverts be given a voice?”

    Today’s vile perverts are tomorrow’s long-oppressed minority, who have obtained, or are seeking, glorious liberation, and the chance to oppress their former perceived oppressors, if they so much as glance at them with disapproval.

    In years to come, expect there to be extra boxes for Minor Attracted People to tick on every form, for equality monitoring purposes, above and beyond today’s bewildering range of choices:

    [ ] Paedophile
    [ ] Hebephile
    [ ] Ephebophiles

    Call me old-fashioned, but I am hoping for a sexual orientation box called “None” to be introduced on these forms.

    Reply
  7. shpoody

    Stinson is Crazy. i thought he had turrets after seeing the stupid woods video on youtube. he doesnt care what the outcome is or if theyre rightfully prosecuted.its all about public image and fame. theres too many people out there using entrapment , yes he may be finding the ones who have interest in teenage girls but he is going about it in the wrong way. He used a 26 year old girl as bait because she looked 15? how a conviction can be made on that is beyond me?

    Reply
  8. angel

    I still cannot quite reconcile myself with the idea that a grown man – without any specialist training – would intentionally set up profiles on dating websites/social media posing as a teenager and then engage is ‘sexual’ conversations with adult men. I can only imagine how this guy thinks a teenager, particularly a teenage girl, would speak or react in such situations – it is certainly not something I have ever given any great thought to given that I was once a teenage girl myself. I don’t agree with grown men seeking out teenagers or children but as much as this disturbs me I cannot help but find the actions of this “self-styled paedophile hunter” to be quite disturbing. I have seen some of these videos on social media websites and the comments that are made alongside them. It’s true that anyone who is questioning what this guy is doing is subjected to some pretty rank abuse. The profiles I have seen seem to scream “look at me, look what I’m doing” as opposed to someone genuinely seeking what he deems to be justice. I would be more convinced by his motives if he devoted less of that energy uploading the same videos over and over to expose these men and begging all and sundry to ‘keep on sharing’ – even after he claims his ‘evidence’ has been handed to the police . I am also concerned about how on the level this guy is. How can anyone be sure that everything he is presenting is real and not enhanced or exaggerated in order to illicit a particular reaction – like any reality show on TV? I strongly believe that these investigations should be carried out by people who are specially trained to deal with such cases. Keeping paedophiles, paedophile rings and prolific sex offenders in general off the streets is serious business. These people are very dangerous and I would wager, highly organised and I don’t for a second believe they would be stupid enough to fall for this guy’s tactics.

    Reply
  9. Joe

    Actually I think he enjoys the power he seems to hold over those he catches. I think he gets his kick from intellectually outwitting these people and then intimidating them in person in front of the camera. I think Stinson is a paychopath in the true sense of the word – he’s obviously cunning, very eloquent and he enjoys the power he’s holding over the individuals he catches.

    Also, watching him in his videos, he comes across as a bully and the fact that he bullied young kids on minecraft comes across as no surprise.

    Reply

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