A VIGILANTE who ignored police advice in a bid to protect Hereford teenagers from paedophiles will himself appear before a court following an attack which left a woman needing hospital treatment.
Self-proclaimed ‘paedophile hunter’ David John Poole was charged with the assault of Zoe Sirrell, causing actual bodily harm, following an incident on Saturday afternoon in the Newton Farm area of the city.
The alleged assault followed an argument on the ‘H Division’ Facebook page which came just days after Poole appeared on the front page of the Hereford Times defying the police’s wishes for people to refrain from staging their own paedophile stings.
Following the incident, a 33-year-old woman from Hereford received hospital treatment for injuries to her nose.
Poole, 38, of Holm Oak Road, Belmont, Hereford, was also charged with the possessing cannabis, and using threatening/ abusive words/ behaviour or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
His partner Kirstie Cleary, 27, was also charged with assault following the incident and possessing cannabis. Another 33-year year-old woman received a caution following the incident.
Poole was remanded in custody following the incident and appeared before Worcester Magistrates Court on Monday.
The case was adjourned to link up with Miss Cleary’s at Hereford Magistrates Court next month and Poole was released on conditional bail.
‘H Division’ was started by Poole to – in his words – “protect teenagers from online grooming” by pretending to be a teenager on online dating websites.
He gained praise from people as far away as Australia for his ‘live sting’ Facebook videos while others criticised the tactics used by his vigilante group.
And one of the charges made against Poole relates to a sting carried out near the McDonald’s restaurant on Hereford’s Belmont Road on March 11.
It is alleged that both Poole and Cleary used threatening and abusive insulting words and behaviour, with intent to cause fear or to provoke unlawful violence.
That alleged offence runs alongside the other charges.