The Paedophile Hunter: Twitter reacts to vigilante Stinson Hunter in Channel 4 documentary

Hunter lures and traps paedophiles by posing as underage girls online

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The Independent Culture

Self-styled 'undercover journalist' Stinson Hunter set social media alight last night, dividing the country when his vigilante antics were revealed in Channel 4 documentary, The Paedophile Hunter.

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Hunter and his associates 'Stubbs' and 'Grime' lure and trap sexual predators by posing as underage children online. Any evidence from initial introductions to final confrontations is filmed, passed on to the police and posted online.

Read more: Paedophile Hunter - the psychology of vigilantism

Bafta-winning director Dan Reed explores the disturbing scale of the online grooming problem, while also delving into Hunter's troubled past (drug addiction, prison for arson and abuse in a children's home that he does not go into) and challenging him on his decision to ruin the lives of the men he 'catches'.

One man, Mark, killed himself shortly after being confronted by Hunter as he arrived to meet a 12-year-old girl. His partner and mother of his young child tells cameras she sympathises with Hunter's crime-stopping intentions, but disagrees with footage being published for his 250,000 Facebook followers to see. 

"He claims he is protecting children but what about my child, a real child who is going to grow up without a dad?" she says.

While many Twitter users agreed with Mark's partner and argued that catching criminals should be left to the police, others praised Hunter's 'hands on' approach to stopping those with paedophilic predilections.

For Stinson Hunter

Against Stinson Hunter

Leading child sex offences lawyer Hugh Davies QC said at the film's launch on Monday that after watching the programme, "the public will demand a higher level of police activity in this very same area".

Shortly after The Paedophile Hunter aired on Wednesday night, Hunter launched a new project on crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter. Since the show, more than £14,000 has been pledged to help Hunter continue and improve on his work.

Stinson Hunter vows to continue his vigilantism

"I have suffered massive, life threatening injuries from a hit and run I was involved in just last year while working on a project," Hunter's statement reads.

"But that has only fed our determination and drive. The potential for our creativity is endless, but it relies on you."