Stephen Dure, 34, from Southampton
A paedophile hunter whose videos have been watched by millions on Facebook has been convicted of falsely accusing a man of grooming teenagers.
Stephen Dure, 34, from Southampton, pleaded guilty to making an improper communication online.
The wrongly-accused man said he had been fired from his job and that his home had been attacked.
Mr Dure, also known as Stevie Trap, appeared in a BBC Inside Out programme in 2017, where he told how he posed as children on the internet to ‘trap’ sex offenders.
With 200,000 followers on Facebook, he often posts videos of himself confronting suspected paedophiles.
Mr Dure claimed Paul Farhad, 42, was a ‘violent psychopath’ and a ‘massive danger to society’ in a Facebook post in November 2017, Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard.
Mr Farhad, from Eastleigh, said the message also implied he was a paedophile and that it was viewed by 111,000 people.
Following this, Mr Farhad lost his job, had paint sprayed on his door and a brick thrown through his window, he told the court.
Alfred Underwood, defending, said Mr Dure accepted that Mr Farhad was not a paedophile, which was ‘nowhere suggested’ in the Facebook message read out in court.
Yet the victim then shared a screenshot of the post from his mobile phone which showed the words ‘grooming teenagers’ had been deleted from the original message.
After this Mr Dure changed his plea to guilty.
Judge Lorraine Morgan said she was adding conditions on Mr Dure’s bail ‘in the light of your lack of frankness’.
He was ordered to wear an electronic tag, observe a curfew and not to use social media.
Mr Dure claimed Paul Farhad (pictured), 42, was a ‘violent psychopath’ and a ‘massive danger to society’ in a Facebook post in November 2017, Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard
A scaffolder by trade, Dure spends up to 40 hours a week speaking to predators online with a view to arranging a ‘sting’ and handing them over to the police.
Outside court Mr Dure said while his online career may be over, his team would continue his work, reported the BBC.
Mr Dure will be sentenced on Monday.
It comes after a judge recently threw out a child grooming case after questions over whether the suspect had been entrapped by a paedophile hunter.
Judge Peter Blair halted the case against Isaac Slusalarczyk, 22, after hearing how a vigilante known as Danny Catcher, posed online as a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Catcher called himself ‘Louise’ and used a picture of his now ex-girlfriend. In their exchanges he sent Mr Slusalarczyk a message saying: ‘I want to lose my [virginity].’
Mr Slusalarczyk, of Warmley, South Gloucestershire, was arrested after being confronted by the paedophile hunter on July 17 last year in Bath city centre.
He went on trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of a single charge of attempting to meet a child following grooming.
But Judge Blair, the Recorder of Bristol, stayed the hearing after listening to representations from defence barrister Brendon Moorhouse.