Belfast Telegraph

Reporter's probe into paedophile vigilante groups set to be aired

By Jonathan Bell

Reporter Kevin Magee has thanked those who supported him after he was confronted by an angry mob of so-called paedophile hunters during an investigation into their activities.

The broadcaster's report about the online vigilante groups is to be screened tonight on BBC1 NI.

Investigations correspondent Mr Magee was accosted by the group of self-proclaimed paedophile hunters last Tuesday evening in a Belfast coffee shop.

It appeared they were angry that he had attempted to interview one of them earlier.

The group broadcast the confrontation live on Facebook.

One of the men was furious, apparently after Mr Magee had visited his home for an interview about the activities of groups which track down sex offenders.

There is no suggestion Mr Magee has done anything wrong.

During the video, one man asks Mr Magee: "How does it feel to be confronted? You don't like this, Kevin, do you?

"This is what you call power."

The footage was viewed around 100,000 times before it was taken down.

The expletive-ridden rant at the senior journalist was condemned as an "attack on media freedom".

The BBC is to screen Mr Magee's investigation on tonight's main Newsline bulletin at 6.30pm.

"Thanks to everyone who sent me messages last week. Much appreciated," tweeted the journalist.

In a plug for the investigation, he can be seen confronting members of the groups.

"You're absolutely disgusting," said one man.

"Your conduct does not deserve me to talk to you."

The PSNI is reviewing the footage of the incident to establish if any offences were committed.

A Sunday Life investigation at the weekend revealed that while members of the groups profess to be moral crusaders protecting children, some are crooks and others have links to paramilitaries.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman also told the paper that at least one individual involved in these vigilante gangs had been questioned by detectives about sexual assault.

The senior officer asked the groups to stop live-streaming their confrontations as it wrecked any chance of a successful prosecution.

Belfast Telegraph

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