Video shows moment Milton Keynes paedophile was confronted by vigilante group only to be spared jail because he is 'too vulnerable'
A Milton Keynes paedophile who bombarded his victim with obscene texts has been spared jail because his Asperger’s syndrome makes him too vulnerable to be behind bars.
The case of student Alex O’Neill who lives in Milton Keynes, is set to divide opinion among residents.
A court heard how the 29-year-old developed post traumatic stress disorder after he was caught red-handed by online pervert hunters called Wolf Pack.
The hunters set up a decoy on an online chatroom to pose as a girl of just 12 years of age.
O’Neill, who is the son of a prison officer, urged her to perform a sexual act online and sent her “disgusting” photos of himself, Sheriff Frances McCartney heard.
The ‘girl’ was in fact a woman of 47. But O’Neill was unaware of this until the hunters tracked him down and confronted him at his university flat in Paisley, Scotland.
He pleaded guilty to sending indecent images. The court heard he had a previous conviction for buying alcohol for children.
But he was spared jail after his defence advocate Joseph Barr told the court about his autism.
He said O’Neill was a “vulnerable person” and that would be “amplified infinitely” in jail.
Mr Barr said O’Neill had suffered from severe anxiety attacks and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being confronted by the Wolf Pack hunters.
Sheriff McCartney imposed a Community Payback Order, with a requirement that O’Neill attends a sexual offending programme. He was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register and ordered to carry out 210 hours of community service over three years.
The court heard O'Neill was currently living in a hotel and it was feared he would be targeted by vigilantes.
After the case a spokesman for the NSPCC said: “It is every parent’s nightmare that their child could be targeted in this way by predators like O’Neill, who must now receive effective treatment to reduce any future risk he poses."
He added: “Online safety is one of the major 21st century child protection challenges and we know the internet is used as a gateway by abusers to commit hundreds of offences against children each year. The NSPCC is campaigning to force social media companies to use technology to flag up grooming behaviour to moderators and warn children before they are abused.”