A British gay couple arrested after an online vigilante “paedophile hunters” group wrongly accused them say they’ve been “traumatised” by the false allegations.
The couple, known only as Jordan and Ben, live south of London. The pair have spoken out after online vigilante group Yorkshire Child Protectors mistakenly targeted them.
The bungled sting occurred when the couple went to visit Jordan’s sister in Hull, the Daily Mail reported. Outside the home, a mob of people confronted the couple.
The group cornered the couple and filmed as they hurled homophobic slurs and abuse at the pair and took their phones.
Police later arrived at the scene and arrested the couple. The group livestreamed police arresting them to around 30,000 people on social media.
However, after officers inspected the couple’s mobile phones, it became clear they were innocent. The vigilante group’s “decoy” was still receiving messages from the suspect.
The “paedophile hunter” group later took down the livestream of the couple’s arrest and apologised to the couple.
However, the couple say the ordeal traumatised them. They’re now scared to leave their homes and return to work after the ordeal.
“We were eventually released, and they had put up a post to say they were sorry and got it wrong,” Ben said.
“More than 30,000 people [viewed the livestream] – 30,000 people aren’t going to see their apology.
“We are disgusted by the whole thing. Our lives have changed. We’re scared.”
Innocent gay couple threatening legal action against vigilantes
The couple have not revealed their full names to protect their identities out of fear of reprisals.
The couple are now taking legal action. They said the vigilante groups “can’t continue with their renegade ways.”
“We understand why they do what they do but it’s not for them to do, it’s up to trained police officers,” Ben said.
Local authorities Humberside Police would not comment on the incident.
A spokesperson told BBC News vigilante groups can impede police investigations and create more problems than they solve.
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