Facebook vigilante posts 6,000 photos of convicted paedophiles and sex offenders online as ‘invaluable tool for parents’
Chris Wittwer has posted the names and photographs of 6,000 convicted sex offenders on Facebook
A vigilante is celebrating after completing a database of 6,000 convicted sex offenders and paedophiles across every county in Britain and posting their names and photographs on Facebook.
Chris Wittwer said he has created the largest photographic gallery ‘in the world’ after spending ‘every waking hour’ gathering police mugshots of registered sex offenders.
Nearly 18,000 people have joined his Facebook groups since the 34-year-old started compiling the huge online bank two years ago.
A total of 44 groups on the social networking site feature 5,930 names and photographs of sex criminals who have been convicted in Britain’s courts.
Mr Wittwer, from Exeter, who works as a warehouse operator said today: ‘I feel really proud.
‘It’s quite an achievement and if it helps people spot sex offenders living in their area, who are a known risk to children, then I’ve done a good thing.
‘It’s a really big project – way bigger than anything before like the other site RatBook.
‘But it’s not a question of being a hate mob, it’s the simple fact that on the national sex offenders register you can access some information but you can’t see the faces of those who commit the crimes.
‘With my groups you can see the picture of the offender, their name, the date of their offence and where they were resident at the time.
‘Because of the repeat nature of many child sex offences it is an invaluable tool for parents who want to keep a watching eye over their kids.’
Mr Wittwer had his first group closed down by police when he first started the venture two years ago for the county of Devon.
But the online portals were started back up again because the campaigner was able to show he was not breaking any laws by presenting information already in the public domain.
He has stuck religiously to only putting up details of convicted sex offenders by checking local newspapers and court records.
Nearly 18,000 people have joined his Facebook groups since the 34-year-old started compiling the huge online bank two years ago
He then cross-references the name of a sex criminal against the national sex offenders register before giving himself the green light to put up the name.
He said: ‘I definitely cross all the t’s and dot the i’s – nothing is left to chance.
‘I use press releases from the police as well as local paper cuttings and newspapers’ own archives.
‘No hearsay or unconfirmed allegations go on the site. That’s how I’ve been able to continue legally.
‘The list is growing all the time – I cover 62 counties in all across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so I’m constantly adding new names.’
Mr Wittwer says he gets 40 messages every day from people praising his work on the social networking site – with many victims turning to him for support.
He said: ‘It’s very difficult when you get a victim asking for your help because I’m not a qualified counsellor.
‘All I can do is offer them a bit of advice and tell them where to turn to.’
But he said he has also come in for some hostility from actual sex offenders who have tracked him down and tried to attack him for what he has done.
He said: ‘On a couple of occasions I have had paedophiles try and hunt me down. I guess it’s an occupational hazard.
‘They don’t want their names out there. But fortunately it hasn’t come to anything.’
Mr Wittwer said he started his ‘mission’ after working as a pub barman a few years ago where he found out about a regular who had been molesting a child.
He said: ‘It created shockwaves and it sickened me. I just wanted to do something about it. This is my way of helping I suppose.’
He added proudly that his list actually helped track down one sex offender who had been spotted working in a local sweet shop – opposite a primary school.
He said: ‘This particular person was on the sex offenders register but had failed to keep police informed of his movements.
‘Thanks to my site he was recognised and when police caught up with him they found he had been abusing again. He went back to jail.
He added: ‘I’m really pleased I’ve managed to cover the whole UK now. I’ve just finished doing the last remaining places in Scotland last week but it will be an ongoing job to keep it up to date.’
The online groups have been a massive hit with users as the site states on its opening page: ‘On this site we aim to expose the paedophiles, perverts and child abuse animals that infest our society today.
‘Is it just and right what I am doing? I don’t care! If I can help to save one child from these crimes then it has all been worth it.’
Group members have called on Mr Wittwer to release people’s addresses and some have even suggested torturing paedophiles.
But Facebook confirmed that he has done nothing wrong in the eyes of the social networking site, which has millions of users across the country.
A spokesman said: ‘We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feeling of others.
‘It is within the terms of the site for users to express their views about a public figure, which includes views about someone who has been convicted of a crime and details related to the crime that are freely available in the media.’
‘As a community, Facebook is highly self-regulating, and we encourage users to report questionable or offensive content.
‘Facebook takes all complaints by users seriously and we have a dedicated team investigating these complaints and comments by users.’
A Kent Police spokesperson said: ‘Any information taken from the internet and sites such as Facebook should be treated with caution as its authenticity cannot be confirmed.
‘Part of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) includes assessing risk to members of the public and where they should be told about offenders in their community, we tell them.
‘We encourage anyone with concerns about offenders to report the information to the police or through Crimestoppers.
‘By providing the police and our partners with information, members of the public can help to protect themselves and others.’