'Paedo hunter' child sex offender Ricky Slade died in prison

Media caption,
Child sex offender Ricky Slade caught by 'paedo hunters'

A child sex offender who had been confronted by self-styled "paedophile hunters" died in prison while awaiting sentence, an inquest has heard.

Ricky Slade, 30, had chatted to members of a group called The Hunted One, posing as girls aged 10, 12 and 14.

He was found hanged in his cell at HMP Nottingham in February 2017, days before he was due to be sentenced.

Prison guard Simon Mather told the hearing he looked "deeply upset and started crying" after his arrest.

Slade, who was 29 when he committed the offences, arranged to meet what he thought was a 10-year-old girl.

Instead, he was confronted by members of The Hunted One and arrested by police.

Image source, The Hunted One
Image caption,
Ricky Slade thought he was chatting with a girl, 10, but was talking to an adult from the group

The group filmed their encounter on 19 November and published the video online before he was convicted.

At the start of a jury inquest in Nottingham, assistant coroner Ivan Cartwright said such videos could "obtain viral status".

Slade had admitted three counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to meet a child under 16 following grooming.

He was bailed but a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to attend Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on 24 January 2017.

Image source, The Hunted One
Image caption,
The group alerted police and an officer arrested Ricky Slade after the confrontation

Appearing at the same court, he was warned he would be jailed and was remanded in custody ahead of his next appearance on 16 February.

Because of his offences, he was classed as a vulnerable prisoner at HMP Nottingham.

Mr Mather, told the inquest "the colour drained" from Slade's face, that he looked "scared and frightened" and was "deeply upset and started crying".

Community nurse, Jonathan Berry, who assessed Slade said he seemed "unaware" of how paedophile hunter groups worked and, because he was "very guarded", it was "difficult to assess his anxieties".

Eight days later, on 3 February, he was found dead on a routine round.

The Hunted One said at the time it was "deeply shocked".

The inquest continues.

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