January 2019

Paedophile hunters do a great service, says judge as pervert sentenced

A judge has praised paedophile hunters for their ‘great service’ while sentencing a pervert who climbed onto a roof to escape them.

Paul Farrell, 31, sparked a five-hour rooftop stand-off at a house in Halifax after being confronted by the group last June.

The confrontation, which was live-streamed on social media, captured Farrell exchanging insults with people in the street below and hurling tiles off the roof as police officers urged the group to stop filming.

Police set up a cordon around the scene and negotiators attended the incident along with ambulance and fire crews.

Prosecutor Camille Morland told Bradford Crown Court today (Monday) that Farrell had used his own Facebook profile to arrange meetings for sex with a 13-year-old “decoy” monitored by the Catching Online Predators group.

On two days in June Farrell, who had 55 previous convictions but none for sexual offending, arranged to meet the girl outside Calderdale Royal Hospital and Huddersfield railway station, but he failed to turn up on both occasions.

Miss Morland said members of the group tracked Farrell down to an address where he was staying, but when he realised they were outside he climbed onto the roof.

Paul Farrell admitted two charges of trying to meet an under-age girl for sex and causing £1,000 damage to the roof of a house in Ripon Street.

But after a judge heard he had already been in custody on remand for more than five months he decided to suspend his 18-month prison sentence for two years.

Farrell, who is now expected to live at an address in Sowerby Bridge following his release, will have to comply with a sexual harm prevention order and register as a sex offender with the police for the next 10 years.

As part of his suspended jail sentence he will also have to comply with a 90-day sex offender group work programme.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told Farrell: “That’s a tough course. It has great results for those who want to change.”

Recovering drug user and convicted burglar Farrell was warned by the judge that if he breached the sexual harm prevention order he could face a maximum of five years in jail.

“Please be very careful,” he told Farrell.

“These groups are doing, as long as they stay within the law, a great service and they are out there, and the police, watching and waiting for people like you.”

The judge explained that if he sentenced Farrell to an 18-month immediate jail term he could be out of prison in a few weeks because of the time he had already served on remand awaiting his trial and sentence.

Because Farrell would not receive any real assistance on release the judge said it was a process of hard logic and common sense to try “the tough alternative”.

“I won’t hesitate to lock you up if it doesn’t work,” the judge added.

November 2018

Pervert admits sex offences

A pervert who sparked a five-hour rooftop stand-off with police has admitted two charges of trying to meet an under-age girl for sex.

The confrontation between Paul Farrell and a group of paedophile hunters was live-streamed onto Facebook after he climbed on the roof of a property in Ripon Street in Halifax in June.

The footage captured Farrell exchanging insults with people in the street below and he allegedly hurled tiles off the roof as police officers urged the group to stop filming.

Police set up a cordon around the scene and negotiators attended the incident along with ambulance and fire crews.

At an earlier hearing at Bradford Crown Court Farrell, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to damaging roof tiles at the house, but he denied the sexual offences.

His case was due to be tried at the crown court today, but when he was brought into the dock from custody Farrell pleaded guilty to two offences of attempting to meet a girl under 16 after sexual grooming

The court heard that Farrell will have spent about six months in custody by the time he is sentenced at the end of this month and the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC suggested that he could consider a lengthy community order or a suspended sentence order after a report on Farrell has been prepared by the probation service.

Farrell was remanded back into custody until his sentence hearing on November 28.