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‘Paedophile hunter’ may have targeted victim over family dispute, court hears

A “self-styled hunter of paedophiles” has been refused bail at Craigavon Magistrates’ after being accused of intimidation and possession of a crossbow.

Caolan Murray, 24, of Mark Court, Lurgan, appeared in court on Friday charged with this offence and a previous of disorderly behaviour and possession of cannabis.

Court heard that the defendant had attempted a “sting” operation on the injured party on January 18, which he live-streamed to Facebook.

It was suggested that Murray had targeted the man as he was someone that his family already had a dispute with.

Once again Murray allegedly attacked the same man on February 22, with the court hearing how he approached his home “with a crossbow” – this too was streamed live on Facebook.

The prosecution told the court “the target was punched in the face receiving injuries”.

Court also heard that the crime was possibly homophobic as the victim was openly gay.

With regards to these offences, Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy refused bail stating that “he had a previous record and reoffending was serious likely”.

His previous charge was linked to an incident on January 13, this year, when Murray was spotted by police fighting two males on Wellington Street, Lurgan.

When approached the defendant claimed that they were not police and were wearing “paramilitary uniform”.

He shouted words such as “paedo”, “c***” and f******”, telling the police to “go arrest paedophiles”.

Murray was also found to have two small bags of cannabis in his possession.

Defence requested a pre-sentence report to be carried out in relation to this incident, however, Murray interjected telling judge Kennedy, “go ahead and sentence me now”.

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy read to the court the defendant’s record for disorderly behaviour, having previously been charged in June 2012, January 2013, October 2013, January 2014 and November 2014.

He added that his language was “appalling” as he sentenced him to two months in custody and ordered him to pay a fine of £250 over 20 weeks, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

As he was taken from the dock Murray shouted “get me clothes and money”. There were also shouts from the public of “up the paedo hunters”.

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