Paedophile 'hunters' vow to continue despite death of Northern Ireland man they had publicly exposed
A group which claims to expose paedophiles online is vowing to continue its activities - in spite of the death of a man it confronted in Co Antrim.
Silent Justice says it protects children by identifying predators who attempt to groom them for sex.
Activists, who describe themselves as "child protection enforcers", are based in England but have recently started operating in Northern Ireland.
A spokesman told our sister paper Sunday Life that they operated because "the justice system doesn't work".
"We are simply concerned parents and we do a better job than the police do," he said.
The group came under fire following the death of a Co Antrim man which it exposed publicly, accusing him of grooming what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
It was, in fact, a member of Silent Justice posing as a girl to whom the married man sent messages, including graphic images and videos of himself.
The man aged in his 50s was confronted at his home by the group and footage of the incident was published online.
He was named on Silent Justice's Facebook site before being arrested and interviewed - but he took his own life days later.
Following his death, the group faced criticism including comments from Deputy Chief Superintendent George Clarke who slammed Silent Justice, saying it was "not accountable".
"They are not the police. They are not accountable, they don't have the legitimacy, or the transparency, or the structures that underpin the police service," he said.
Ex-PSNI officer and child protection expert Jim Gamble also criticised the group's actions.
"It's fundamentally unregulated and not integrated with law enforcement and often more about promoting the activities of the group than making sure due process is followed," Mr Gamble said.
"We are not far away from an accident happening or an innocent person being accused.
"They don't have the capacity, sophistication and policies in place to deal with these issues effectively," Mr Gamble added.
But the Silent Justice spokesman stated: "What we are there to do is let the public judge - we know the law and the police know how thorough we are.
"We are not some poxey group and we don't have thousands of followers for nothing."
He added: "You can't change a paedophile not to be attracted to kids, there is no rehabilitation, there's no cure."
The group has also recently exposed two men grooming people they thought were children online.
One is a convicted paedophile and the other is a member of the armed forces who was stationed in Northern Ireland.