Paedophile hunters defend work after man is found dead
A PAEDOPHILE hunting group has hit back after a man previously caught in a sting operation was found dead in his home.
David Baker from Wickham was found dead two days after being released from police custody, having been caught in a paedophile hunting sting in Southampton.
The 43-year-old was arrested on suspicion of arranging to meet a child for sexual contact.
The group, called TRAP, goes online pretending to be children with the goal of catching out suspected paedophiles.
Police chiefs have stated that the actions of groups such as this have the potential to disrupt ongoing police investigations.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs Council lead for child protection, said: ‘So-called paedophile hunters are taking risks they don’t understand and can undermine police investigations.
‘Most importantly, unlike our officers, they have no way of safeguarding child victims.
‘While we may consider working with these groups in certain instances, if it helps us protect children and we can manage the risks of their involvement, but this is not the solution to the problem of abuse.
‘We are tackling child abuse by using undercover officers and covert resources to catch those seeking to groom children online.’
Now the group has hit back against criticisms of being ‘murderers’ on social media.
One of TRAP’s members, who prefers to be known as Stevie, said: ‘David Baker’s death affected all of the team in different ways, but will not affect the work we do and we will carry on as planned.
‘We feel for his family and friends but his death has nothing to do with our team’s work – the police had been told by the family he may try and kill himself if he was bailed but ignored that.’
A spokesman from Hampshire police said: ‘We were called at 1.49pm on Saturday, October 7 following the discovery of a 43-year-old man’s body at an address in Wykeham Field, Wickham.
‘The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.
‘Next of kin have been informed.’