‘One man lynch mob’ filmed video at paedophile’s house

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court

A “one man lynch mob” who went to a paedophile’s door in Fife and filmed him in a bid to expose his crimes in a Facebook video that went viral has been spared jail.

Jody Petrie targeted John Majilton at his home in Tayport in the days leading up to his sentencing last summer.

Two weeks before the incident Majilton – a former postman – had admitted downloading a huge stash of child abuse pictures then sending one to someone he met online.

Petrie posted the video on Facebook – which has since been deleted – before following it up branding Majilton and his partner, Ashley Walker, “horrible beasts”.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told the video then went “viral” on the social media site – being widely shared online.

Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion said Petrie had gone to the couple’s door with a jacket wrapped round his head to conceal his identity and stuck his phone through the gap when Miss Walker opened it.

She said: “The first complainer didn’t recognise him because of the jacket.

“When the second [Majilton] heard the commotion and came through the accused shouted ‘he’s a paedo and there are kids in there’.

“She said they were her children and she was supervising.

“The accused moved away and was shouting and swearing at them and threatening to ‘run through them’.

“The witnesses managed to close the door and later that day police were contacted after the accused posted the video on Facebook.

“They were concerned about repercussions.

“Many people had commented on the video and shared it, effectively making it go viral.”

Petrie (31) of Garvie Brae, Tayport, Fife, pleaded guilty on summary complaint to a charge of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner at an address in Cowgate, Tayport, on June 25 last year.

He admitted that he turned up at the flat with his “identity concealed” by wearing a jacket wrapped around his head and placed his foot in the door to stop it being closed.

Petrie shouted, swore, uttered threats of violence and offensive remarks and made recordings of Ashley Walker and John Majilton on his mobile phone.

He then uploaded the footage on to social media whereby it was “viewed by the lieges” and “placed Ashley Walker and John Majilton in a state of fear and alarm”.

Defence solicitor Sue Williams said: “He realises this was totally unreasonable to take matters into his own hands.

“He’s been told that he should have contacted police or social work if he had concerns.

“It was not appropriate to go to the door and approach them. He is extremely sorry.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a community payback order with 200 hours unpaid work.

He said: “One of the great difficulties about allegations of sexual abuse against children is that some members of the public, such as you, get it in to their heads that they can then do whatever they want in relation to that person.

“Then you go and put this on Facebook – and there’s no control over what happens to it.

“Other idiots get hold of it and the whole thing goes viral.

“It becames a virus that infects society.

“I won’t tolerate you behaving like a one man lynch mob.

“You are very fortunate not to be going to prison for this.”