A council worker has been sacked and fined £500 after luring a violent mob of 30 self-proclaimed ‘paedophile hunters’ to the address of a sex offender.
The offender, who had been convicted and served his prison sentence, was moved to emergency accommodation in Hull after his details were posted on social media in July 2020, Hull Crown Court heard.
After Hull City Council customer service assistant Chloe Carr, 23, shared her new address with a Facebook group dedicated to tracking down paedophiles, the mob tried to break into the property and threatened to kill it and set it on fire.
The offender had to be rehoused again due to the incident, which risked making him “unpredictable and more likely to commit offences”, the court heard.
Carr walked out of court laughing after the judge told her she had done a “huge disservice” to the rehab process and was “very lucky” to have avoided jail.
She had been employed by the council through an agency and was working from home when she saw a message in her workgroup chat from a colleague saying a call had been received from a sex offender sentenced.
The man had asked for a food parcel to be sent to his emergency accommodation as it was too dangerous for him to go shopping, and his address was shared on the chat.
Prosecutors said Carr told the Hull-based Facebook group she had information about the sex offender, but asked to remain anonymous, writing: ‘It can’t come back to me because of my job.’
When asked if she had any proof, she replied that she worked for Hull City Council and insisted that “everything is 100%”, posting a screenshot of the message containing the address.
After being thanked by the group, she again begged them not to “mention it’s from the council” because it “could come back to me”.
That same evening, the sex offender called the police to say that around 30 people were at his door trying to break in and had been warned to “get out now or they will kill him and set the property on fire”.
Half an hour later, the band contacted Carr to tell her he had been moved from the house, to which she replied, “I’m so happy. It’s damn awful. Glad to have helped everyone.
They continued to exchange messages about the attacker in the following days, until police identified the council worker as a member of the group and seized two laptops from her home.
She told detectives that seeing the details of the sex offender on her work chat made her “pretty angry because she was pregnant” and “knew it was wrong”, prosecutors added.
Mitigating Helen Chapman said sex offenders were people who had been convicted and had “done their time and gotten out” of jail.
Carr admitted unlawfully disclosing private data to an online website without consent and was fined £500.
A charge of misconduct in public service, which would have carried a maximum prison sentence, was dropped after “thorough consideration by a number of different people”, Judge Mark Bury said.
Judge Bury told him: “You are very lucky about this. The offense you have committed is, in my opinion, very serious and punishable by imprisonment.
He told the court: ‘I would have locked her up. It’s not a public service at all. [The offender] had done their punishment. It was not up to you to give their coordinates.
The judge said it ‘wouldn’t take much of the imagination’ to work out what the anti-pedophile group was planning to do, adding: ‘The problem with that is that it unsettles offenders’.
“It makes them unpredictable and more likely to commit offenses that everyone else is trying to stop them from committing. It’s not a public service at all. This is a huge disservice.
“I hope that was a lesson. If you ever work in the public sector again, you just have to remember that you have a serious responsibility with public details. You thought you were helping. You weren’t.’
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