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Shropshire paedophile's 'vigilante' claim rejected by judge

By Nick Humphreys | Bridgnorth | Crime | Published:

A child sex pervert from Shropshire who claimed his online activity was because he was a vigilante paedophile hunter has been told it was all for his own sexual gratification.

Jason Fitzpatrick, 48, admitted three charges of making indecent images of children but told Shrewsbury Crown Court he had no idea how they got on his computer.

He came to the attention of the authorities on January 10, 2016, after chatting with an undercover police officer online. The officer was posing as a mother offering her child up for paedophiles.

The next day, officers swooped on the caravan he rents from his mother at Hampton Loade, Bridgnorth, and seized his computer.

They found 195 still images and one video of child sexual abuse, with the video and two of the images being labelled Category A - the most serious. The images dated back as far as 2011.

Fitzpatrick took to the witness box to give his version of events.

He was asked by prosecutor Kevin Jones why he hadn't told officers of his supposed vigilantism when he was interviewed after they swooped on his caravan. He said: "I don't know, I was scared. I was ashamed of what I'd done."

Abused

Fitzpatrick waited until nine months after his arrest before claiming he was actually hunting for sex offenders, the court heard.

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He also told the court that he was abused as a child, and that led to drink, drug and mental health problems.

But Judge Anthony Lowe didn't buy his account, and told him: "If you were trying to take down paedophiles, you would have expected some kind of record to be kept somewhere. There is nothing in a period of five years. No reports to police.

"The reality is that you were viewing these images for your own sexual gratification. Nothing you were doing was to lead you to help in the identification and prosecution of offenders.

"You live a fairly sad life."

Fitzpatrick was given a 12-month community order, 40 rehabilitation activity days and a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Bridgnorth.

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