The Paedophile Hunter
Stinson Hunter is chatting to a man online as we start The Paedophile Hunter, this disturbing Channel 4 documentary. The man he’s chatting to thinks he is talking to a 14 year old girl, and subsequently sends pictures of his private parts and a detailed description of what he plans to do when they meet. Later that day the man does turn up, to be confronted by Stinson and his cohorts filming his every move and asking him some very uncomfortable questions.
This is what Stinson Hunter (real name Keiren Parsons) does, and this is how he spends his days. Logging on to adult chat sites, pretending to be an underage girl and waiting for online groomers and paedophiles to bite. And bite they do, in their droves. Operating out of a nondescript semi in Nuneaton, Stinson remains remarkably professional when his victims arrive, stating the facts calmly and giving them the chance to give their side of the story. After they leave (and some stay longer than you think they would) he packages all the video evidence, along with web chat histories, and passes it on to the police hoping for a conviction.
Sometimes as they leave he follows them, along with his associates filming everything, making sure the locals know exactly what is going on. As he is well known in the area a mob soon starts to join him, and it’s easy to imagine the worst could happen on the street before the police ever get involved. In the case of 45 year old Michael Parkes the worst happened shortly after being exposed when he took his own life, leaving behind an ex wife and young child. Stinson was relatively unrepentant, simply stating “he made the choice, not me!”
The motivations behind Stinson’s mission were relatively impenetrable. A troubled childhood, including drug use and arson, led to an extended stay in prison but now he seems to think he has found a vocation. When asked if he was abused as a child he declined to comment, but he is obviously a very troubled man. By turns incredibly charming and rather menacing he said of his dog that “I could beat her to within an inch of her life and she would still come back to me” which Is the kind of statement a psychiatrist could have a field day with.
Since starting his crusade nearly five years ago he has helped convict ten people, but the police have informed him they aren't happy with the way he works. Without police involvement they say a lot of evidence could be inadmissible, and he risks his own safety as well as that of his prey. You could argue that he could do everything he is now doing, including handing the evidence to the police, without the need to post the videos on Facebook and his website. The police think this increases the risk of vigilantism and, with his Facebook page now having nearly 250,000 likes, it would be hard to argue with that.
The documentary never tried to delve too deeply into his life. It would be nice to know how the three of them pay for their house, multiple iPhones, Mac Book and BMW, but this was never addressed. You can’t deny Stinsons dedication to what he is doing, but what came across was that he is a deeply unhappy man, living in a world full of hate and darkness which we had the dubious privilege of sharing for an hour. We can only hope he manages to exorcise whatever demons are currently haunting him.