A GRANDFATHER of 17 says he is horrified that he has been wrongly labelled a paedophile.
John Campbell, from Roker, in Sunderland, says he has been the victim of a misdirected hate campaign ever since another Sunderland man, of the same name, was convicted of vile child sex offences in 2006.
Now, Mr Campbell says he fears for his life, after the vicious smears were circulated on social networking sites alongside a photograph of him.
The 49-year-old, who lives with wife Denise, was pictured at a National Front rally in Newcastle.
Although he admits he was a member of the English Defence League (EDL) in the past, he says he is no longer part of any far-right groups.
He said: “I got my photograph taken with a few friends. The National Front were holding a demonstration to tell members of the public about grooming gangs in Newcastle.
“I was a member of the EDL previously, but I was just at the demo with friends.
“A left-wing activist has dragged up a piece from the Echo in 2006 about a different John Campbell. He said it was ironic I was against grooming, when I was a groomer myself.
“Now, my photograph is on every EDL and National Front Facebook page – claiming I am a child sex offender. It has put my life in danger. It is just a not a nice thing to happen.”
Unemployed father-of-five Mr Campbell, who suffers from depression, believes he has been confused with an older man of the same name who lived in the area.
He has lost friends over the allegations and has reported the matter to police – who confirmed he has never been convicted of any sexual offences.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “Police received a report of malicious communication.
“Officers have spoken to the complainant and after inquiries, another man has been spoken to about posting comments on social media. Advice has been given to both parties and the comments have been removed.”
The Echo reported in 2006 that a John Campbell, who was 44 at the time , was jailed for four years after subjecting an eight-year-old girl to repeated sex attacks.
Campbell scared the schoolgirl into keeping quiet, but Newcastle Crown Court heard how the brave youngster finally broke down and confessed to her mum what had been happening.
The paedophile, of Fulwell Road, Sunderland, admitted one charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and four charges of sexual assault on a child.
Judge Esmond Faulks banned him from working with children for life and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life.