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Cannock man 'killed himself days after being targeted by paedophile hunters'

By Megan Archer | Cannock | News | Published:

Nigel Sherratt had been surrounded in a pub car park in Cannock by men from an online activist group.

Nigel Sherratt died aged 47

A man took his own life after being targeted by online paedophile hunters, an inquest heard.

Nigel Sherratt, aged 47, who had learning difficulties, was found dead at his home by his brother Mark on August 5 last year, the hearing was told.

Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh gave a verdict of suicide, while subject to learning difficulties. He said he hoped it served as "a lesson" to similar vigilante groups.

Mr Sherratt, of Ascot Drive, Cannock, had no mental or psychiatric history, or any previous suggestions of self harm, but he did suffer from "severe health problems and learning difficulties", the inquest heard.

Just a few days before his death, on August 3, Mr Sherratt was surrounded in a pub car park in Cannock by men from an online activist group – who alleged he had been talking to a 14-year-old girl online.

Mr Sherratt was arrested and questioned at Cannock Police Station.

He was released and sent home the following day, but was shouted at and abused by someone who had seen the video online.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Detective Sergeant Kiley Round of Staffordshire Police said: "There are very mixed views about what this online activist group are trying to do, and what they achieve.

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"Certainly from a police perspective, we do not condone these sorts of actions, it's a police role and should continue to be so."

In a statement to the inquest Mr Sherratt's sister Lynn Thacker said: "I sincerely doubt suicide ever crossed Nigel's mind before that day.

"If it was not for the unjust accusations then he would still be here today. But they branded him a paedophile and convinced him that he was going to go to prison.

"They played judge, jury and executioner, and Nigel paid with his life. There is no evidence to suggest he was guilty of what was suggested. It was a heinous accusation of which we will never recover."

Coroner Mr Haigh added: "There were no particular concerns when Nigel went to bed that night, but on August 5 Nigel's sister could not contact him, so she gets their brother Mark to check on him, where he made the sad discovery.

"I hope that these sad circumstances might be a form of lesson to those who indulge in this sort of vigilante activity."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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