Latest: Paedophile hunters defend methods as RTE producer admits child sex offences

Update 12.45pm: A paedophile-hunting group has defended its tactics after a sports producer with RTE who was confronted when he travelled to the UK to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl admitted sex offences.

Kieran Creaven flew from Dublin to Leeds to meet a "girl" he had groomed outside the city's Queens Hotel. But the fictional teenager had been created by Leeds-based group Predator Exposure.

Kieran Creaven today. Photo: SWNS.com

When the 55-year-old turned up for the meeting, he was confronted by members of the group, who streamed the encounter live on the internet.

Today, Creaven, who works for RTE, pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to attempting to meet a child following grooming for a sexual purpose and of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, namely kissing and cuddling.

He stood in the dock wearing an open-neck white shirt under a black overcoat for the 10-minute hearing.

Creaven, who lives in Dublin, was released on bail and will be sentenced in Leeds on February 12. He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, his Irish nationality and to enter his pleas.

According to the charges, the offences took place from July 1, when the defendant allegedly first contacted the "girl" online, to November 18, when he arrived at the hotel in the city.

When Creaven appeared before magistrates last month, prosecutors outlined how, in one message, he said he "felt horny" and that he also sent a photograph of an erect penis.

He was confronted by members of Predator Exposure again as he left Leeds Crown Court.

Phil, T and Claire (full names not given) of the so-called paedophile hunting group outside Leeds Magistrates Court Photo: SWNS.com

One - calling himself Phil - said he had met Creaven outside the hotel.

He said: "It's a right result. You don't get a better result….He obviously was a bit panicky but we told him 'We're not here to harm you, we're here to protect you'.

"Once we've done the sting, we've a duty of care to make sure we protect him at all costs."

Asked if this was job for the police rather than private groups, Phil said: "The police were nowhere to be seen."

He said: "At least now he's on the radar, he's gone guilty, this'll be on his CV. Even if he got two hours' community service - everybody now knows…"

Earlier this year, senior police officers warned that vigilante groups could put child abuse investigations at risk.

Detective Superintendent Steven Woollett, of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said in August that offenders might become more evasive as a result of groups' actions.

"My personal view is, as much as they may be well intended, there is the potential to hinder police investigations," he said.

"My message to them would be we are professional law enforcement - leave it to the professionals."

His message was echoed by the National Police Chiefs Council lead for child protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who said police are arresting more than 400 offenders and protecting more than 500 children every month.

He said: "Don't try to take it into your own hands, you could undermine police investigations, creating more risk for the children we all want to protect."

Update 10.37am: RTÉ producer pleads guilty to attempted grooming

Kieran Creaven has pleaded guilty to charges of attempted grooming and trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, according to reports.

The RTÉ sports producer has admitted sex offences after he was confronted by so-called paedophile hunters when he travelled to the UK to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

At Leeds Crown Court today, Kieran Creaven, 55, admitted attempting to meet a child following grooming for a sexual purpose and of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, namely kissing and cuddling.

Creaven flew from Ireland to Leeds to meet up at The Queens Hotel with the "girl", who was in fact a fake online identity created by a group of so-called paedophile hunters.

The offences were said to have taken place from July 1 - when the defendant first contacted the "girl" online - to November 18 when he arrived at the hotel in the city.

He was released on bail to be sentenced on February 12.

At a hearing in November, prosecutor Jill Seddon told Leeds Magistrates' Court that Creaven, of Dublin, said in one message that he "felt horny" and that he also sent a photograph of an erect penis.

The 54-year-old with an address in Dublin has been suspended from duty at RTÉ pending the outcome of the case.

Earlier: RTÉ producer due in court

An RTÉ sports producer is due in court in the UK today on charges of grooming and trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

54-year-old Kiearan Creaven with an address in Dublin was arrested in Leeds last month after he was confronted by a vigilante group who claim they had been posing as a child online.

Mr Creaven was released on bail and allowed to return to Ireland.

He is due before Leeds Crown Court later.

RTÉ has suspended him from duty pending the outcome of the case.

He has not indicated how he intends to plead.


KEYWORDS: Courts

 

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