Vigilantes ‘beat child sex offender with baseball bats after putting £1,000 bounty on his head’
Michael Loughran, 30, and Karl Carter, 27, tracked down 18 year old sex attacker and beat him with baseball bats, a court has heard
The victim of the attack had only just been released from a three and a half year prison sentence imposed for a serious sexual assault on a child.
But feelings on the estate where the sex attack occurred were still running high years after the offences took place, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Knowing that the youth, now 18, was free, Michael Loughran, 30, and Karl Carter, 27, set about finding where he was being re-homed to exact revenge.
The pair used Facebook to appeal for information on the whereabouts of the teenager, who was being supervised by the public protection unit.
Loughran offered a reward of £500, which was later doubled by his best friend Carter, the jury was told. The pair eventually found out the secret address in Darlington, Co Durham, and drove 16 miles from their homes in Middlesbrough to lie in wait for him.
At 7.30pm on June 28 last year, they spotted the youth walking his dog and set about him in the street with baseball bats, beating him to the ground.
He was left concussed with a 4-cm cut to the back of his head and burst into the home he shared with his father yelling: “Dad, Dad, they have got me, they have got me.”
Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said that the youth’s father had been forced out of the estate he had lived on because of the strength of feeling in the area.
He felt that the hostility had died down until the day before his son’s release from a young offenders’ institution.
Looking down from the window of the flat he had been moved to near Middlesbrough, he saw Loughran and Carter outside, it is alleged.
After speaking to social services he was moved immediately to a secret location where his son joined him after being freed.
Mr Cleasby said: “A concerted Facebook campaign commenced during the course of which Karl Carter and Michael Loughran offered money in return for information leading to the whereabouts of the youth.
“They were very anxious to know where he was and it was clear they were intent on taking the law into their own hands and taking a violent retribution.
“Their Facebook messages show they were prepared to go to any lengths to find him and inflict serious harm.
“Michael Loughran wrote: ‘I will put everything into getting my hands on the f***ing creep.’
“He accepted on Facebook he was on a mission and it would take 10 policemen to keep him under control.
“Karl Carter increased the reward offered from £500 to £1,000 and said that he would do anything for his friend Loughran.”
Despite police warnings about their conduct, the pair continued with their plan and found out where the teenager was living.
Describing the attack Mr Cleasby said: “They rushed at him, striking him to the back and head and body with the baseball bats.
“He was knocked to the ground where the attack continued before they got back into their vehicle and left the scene.”
Concluding his opening to the jury, Mr Cleasby added: “The prosecution say that both Loughran and Carter had clear and unequivocal motive for inflicting really serious harm on (the youth.)
“They told the world what they were going to do and they went and did what they said they would.”
Carter, of Jubilee Road, Middlesbrough, and Loughran, of Ryhill Walk, Middlesbrough, both deny wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and carrying an offensive weapon.
The trial continues.