A “vulnerable” man in his 30s who was waiting for a lift in Castleisland, Co Kerry, was followed by a group of young people who thought he was a recently released convicted paedophile.
Later, “nasty, horrible comments” were posted on Facebook about him. The social media comments were made despite the fact that a Garda sergeant had quickly ascertained the true identity of the man and had told the individuals pursuing him that he was not the person they thought he was.
The man was mistaken for 44-year-old convicted English paedophile Anthony Luckwill. This is the second time there has been such a misidentification in recent weeks.
A man in Kildare needed Garda protection to safely leave a pub, after being mistaken for Mr Luckwill on social media.
Sgt John O’Mahony, of Castleisland gardaí, was on the beat in the centre of Castleisland at around 4pm on Wednesday when he was approached by a group of young teenagers and shown photographs. He approached the man in his 30s and quickly ascertained his identity — knowing from his accent alone that he was from the county.
The man was being followed at a distance by the young people.
The sergeant told the young people to go on their way.
The man in his 30s, who is from North Kerry, has health issues and was described as “vulnerable” by Sgt O’Mahony.
He had been in Castleisland to attend an appointment and took his lift as arranged.
However, later, on Wednesday, at around 8pm, gardaí became aware of “horrible, nasty comments” about the innocent man on Facebook. The man’s photograph was placed alongside that of the convicted paedophile online.
There were suggestions, too, of vigilante-type activity and that a group should be organised.
At around 11.30pm, the gardaí approached one or two people to ask them to take down the comments.
The man’s family have been informed and are “deeply upset” and are “shattered” by the whole issue, Sgt O’Mahony said.
“This was way out of order. This is a vulnerable young man,” Sgt O’Mahony said.
Legal advice is being sought by the man’s family.
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