Child per­vert fears for his safety when freed

Court told how mob cor­nered man in his home

West Lothian Courier - - News -

A pae­dophile snared in a ‘ Wolf Pack’ vig­i­lante st­ing is liv­ing in fear of be­ing hounded by a mob when he’s re­leased from cus­tody, a court heard.

Ken­neth Long was tracked down by the anti-pae­dophile group af­ter he sent a vile pic­ture to some­one he be­lieved was a 12-year-old boy.

An an­gry mob shout­ing “beast” and “get him out” gath­ered when two ‘Wolf Pack Hunters’ con­fronted him at his home in May­field Drive, Ar­madale.

Po­lice ar­rived in large num­bers to dis­perse the crowd and man­aged to bun­dle 53-year-old Long into a van to es­cape the scene just be­fore some­one set fire to a car out­side his house.

Long and his part­ner were both “vis­i­bly up­set and shak­ing” af­ter the in­ci­dent, Liv­ingston Sher­iff Court heard.

Last Thurs­day, a sher­iff branded the pub­lic dis­or­der as “de­plorable” and warned that de­coy so­cial me­dia groups might need to be scru­ti­nised and reg­u­lated in fu­ture.

Iain Smith, de­fend­ing, told the court that the re­peat sex of­fender was wor­ried about his fu­ture in the wake of the mob’s re­ac­tion.

Mr Smith said: “De­spite the good in­ten­tions of the de­coy group – ef­fec­tively vig­i­lantes – a large mob formed at his home, one of them broke into his house and con­fronted his part­ner and the mob set fire to a car out­side his house.

“He is con­cerned about what will hap­pen when he’s re­leased into the com­mu­nity, that is his fear.”

He stressed that Long (53) was not guilty of any groom­ing of­fence but had re­luc­tantly ad­mit­ted a sin­gle charge of send­ing an in­de­cent im­age to the de­coy for sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion or to cause hu­mil­i­a­tion, dis­tress or alarm.

He said that although Long thought he was chat­ting on­line to a 12-yearold boy on gay dat­ing site BoysAhoy, he had ac­tu­ally been deal­ing with an adult pre­tend­ing to be the school­boy.

He said Long now ex­pressed “ter­ri­ble shame” about what he had done and claimed his sex­ual de­viancy was “vastly treat­able”.

Jail­ing Long for 18 months, Sher­iff Peter Ham­mond told him his name would re­main on the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for 10 years.

He told him: “Mr Smith has drawn to my at­ten­tion cer­tain as­pects of the way you were con­fronted with this mat­ter by a cer­tain group.

“It’s not for me at this stage in the pro­ceed­ings to pass com­ment on whether the use of de­coy so­cial me­dia ac­counts to ex­pose peo­ple with your in­cli­na­tions is help­ful in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice or a hin­drance to it. It is a re­cent phe­nom­e­non and time will tell.

“It may be that it will be a sub­ject that will re­quire scru­tiny and reg­u­la­tion in some way in fu­ture. I only note in pass­ing that such ac­tions by even well mean­ing ac­tivists can get out of hand and lead to un­fore­seen con­se­quences and de­plorable pub­lic dis­or­der as hap­pened when this group came to con­front you on your doorstep.”

He told Long he had pled guilty on in­dict­ment to a se­ri­ous charge of a sex­ual na­ture re­lat­ing to a per­son who he thought was a boy of 12.

The sher­iff said: “I have noted that ear­lier this year you in­ten­tion­ally sent to this per­son who you thought was a boy an im­age of your naked pe­nis with a view to hav­ing that child look at it for the pur­pose of your sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

“The charge is a se­ri­ous one, as ev­i­denced by the fact that Par­lia­ment has pro­vided that there’s a max­i­mum sen­tence which is avail­able on in­dict­ment in the ap­pro­pri­ate fo­rum and that sen­tence can be up to 10 years im­pris­on­ment.

“Your of­fence is ag­gra­vated in this case by your re­cent pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for a his­tor­i­cal sex­ual of­fence in­volv­ing a child. It took place a mat­ter of days af­ter the ex­piry of a 12-month prison sen­tence which you served for that ear­lier of­fence. In­deed, at the time of this of­fence you were sub­ject to li­cence in the com­mu­nity and reg­is­tra­tion pro­vi­sions and no­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments of the Sex­ual Of­fences Act 2003.”

The sher­iff ac­knowl­edged that so­cial work­ers had of­fered him a com­mu­ni­ty­based dis­posal with a pro­vi­sion for ad­dress­ing Long’s of­fend­ing.

But, given the na­ture of the charge and Long’s record, he said he had come to the view that the only ap­pro­pri­ate dis­posal was a cus­to­dial sen­tence.

Sen­tence Long ap­peared at Liv­ingston Sher­iff Court

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