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Nigel Sherratt killed himself after paedophile hunters confrontation

image copyrightNigel Sherratt
image captionNigel Sherratt was found dead after he engaged in sexual online messages with a fictitious girl from Soul Survivors

A man killed himself two days after being confronted by online paedophile hunters, an inquest heard.

Nigel Sherratt, 47, from Cannock, engaged in messages of "sexual content" with a fictitious 14-year-old girl, played by a member of Soul Survivors.

He was later confronted by the group, with footage streamed on Facebook.

Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh wants his death to be a "lesson". Mr Sherratt's sister described the group as "judge, jury and executioner".

Mr Sherratt agreed to meet a fake adult female - also played by Soul Survivors - in a pub car park on 3 August 2018 but was confronted about chat logs relating to the teenage girl, the hearing at Cannock Coroner's Court was told.

The men from the group were aggressive, using raised voices and threats about what might happen to him, the hearing was told.

Mr Sherratt was arrested over the allegations of potential communications with a child and held by Staffordshire Police overnight.

He was released under investigation while inquiries continued but was found dead by his brother Mark on 5 August.

Toxicology tests found he had a fatal concoction of overdosed drugs in his body.

'Judge, jury and executioner'

"I sincerely doubt that suicide ever crossed Nigel's mind until that day," said his sister Lynn Thacker, whose evidence was read by coroner's officer Andy Heathcote.

"If it was not for the unjust actions he would be alive today. My brother took his own life due to an altercation with this group.

"Soul Survivors played judge, jury and executioner on that day to my brother. I know there was no evidence that my brother was guilty of what they accused him of."

She said they had "branded him a paedophile" online.

Det Sgt Kiley Round said uncovering potential paedophiles should be the work of the police.

"From a police perspective we do not condone these sorts of actions. It's a police role and should continue to be so," he added.

"There is no regulation or risk assessment about what they do. There's no safeguarding."

Coroner Mr Haigh ruled Mr Sherratt died as a result of a suicide, which was subject to his learning difficulties.

"I hope these sad circumstances might be a form of lesson to those [groups] that indulge in this sort of activity," he added.

Soul Survivors declined to comment when approached by the BBC.

Related Topics

  • Staffordshire Police
  • Cannock

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