Brutal fake vigilantes shattered innocent man's bones after wrongly accusing vulnerable victim
Three violent attackers who posed as paedophile hunters left a vulnerable man with shattered bones in his face after wrongly accusing him of abuse.
Antonio Brogan, Zoe Flannigan and Kayleigh Brown targeted an innocent stranger on a Metro train who was so drunk he allowed them to come to his home for more alcohol.
Newcastle Crown Court heard after spending some hours at the man's home, in North Shields, North Tyneside, the group falsely accused him of acting inappropriately and claimed to be members of Dark Justice, an organisation that targets paedophiles online.
The attackers then tried to photograph their victim using mobile phones before launching a brutal attack which was boasted about on Facebook the next day.
The victim was left with two fractured eye sockets, a fractured nose and a broken rib.
Prosecutor Paul Reid told the court: "They started talking about Dark Justice, a vigilante organisation here in Newcastle, which targets paedophiles.
"They asked him if he was such.
"They said to him Kayleigh Brown was only 14 and that he had behaved inappropriately towards her, neither of those things being true.
"They were trying to photograph him on their mobiles.
"Brogan picked up a carving knife from the kitchen and held it to his throat and told him he was going to cut him up and he was a 'paedo'.
"The complainant was badly assaulted.
"He only recalls punches raining down on him from all three defendants."
The court heard the victim was lying unconscious in his blood stained living room when the trio left his home after the violence in February.
Brogan, 21, of Allendale Crescent, Shiremoor, admitted causing the serious injuries and pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with inent.
Flannigan, 19, of Byewell Grove, Shiremoor, and Brown, 18, Priory Avenue, Monkseaton, admitted assault.
Judge Camp sentenced Brogan to seven years behind bars.
Flannigan was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a four month curfew and rehabilitation requirements.
Brown, who is now seven months pregnant, was sentenced to to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years with rehabiliation requirements.
The judge said: "They effectively tried to set him up a paedophile and gave him a thorough beating.
"It was a set up.
"A person's home should be a sanctuary, where he is safe.
"This was some sort of attempt to entrap him."
The judge added: "You were saying he was a paedophile and you were part of Dark Justice.
"He was given a very thorough beating indeed. He was left unconscious, he said there was blood all over the walls of his flat.
"The photographs show he was in a real mess when you had finished with him."
Defence barristers said the trio are now remorseful for what they did and did not set out that night with the intention of harming anyone.
Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for Dark Justice said: "We are a two-man operation and we abide by the law.
"We have our own rules of conduct to ensure fairness and safety for all concerned.
"We would never visit someone's house and we always identify ourselves clearly and immediately when we approach anyone.
"We do not condone violence."