The daughter of one of the men who killed himself after being exposed as a paedophile by vigilantes has spoken out about the harrowing aftermath of the incident.

Lesley Henderson's dad Michael Duff is one of at least eight men who have committed suicide after vigilante groups recorded and shared video online of "unmasking" the men.

Duff was questioned by police after footage allegedly showing him attempting to meet a 15-year-old for sex was posted online by a paedophile vigilante group known as "True Justice".

Michael Duff, 67, with his daughter Lesley Henderson. Photo / BBC
Michael Duff, 67, with his daughter Lesley Henderson. Photo / BBC

The 67-year-old was questioned on suspicion of attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming and released on bail.


His body was found two days later in July 2015, at his home.

Henderson adored her father and didn't suspect anything sinister about him until her friend told her about the video circulation online.

She broken down in tears as she recalls to Victoria Derbyshire programme how the news was broken to her.

"My friend said, 'look, I don't really know how to say this to you Lesley, but there's a video going round on Facebook - it's your dad'.

"I just sort of sat in shock," she says.

"It was on Facebook and I could already see mutual friends had viewed it, so there was nothing I could do.

"I must have been screaming because my daughter was upstairs... she could hear me screaming, and she asked me what was wrong."

A video showing a man being confronted by a paedophile hunter. Photo / BBC
A video showing a man being confronted by a paedophile hunter. Photo / BBC

Henderson than told her 15-year-old daughter that her grandad was paedophile and regretfully showed her the video.


Never know the truth

Henderson told the BBC she never spoke to her father after the allegations were made and may never know the truth.

She said it could have been a one-off thing that he regretted doing straight away.

"I know people would say, 'well the thought was there', but the reality is he may not have actually committed any crime at all.

"I don't know what was on my dad's computer, if anything, and I'm never going to know because somebody deemed to put it all over Facebook rather than letting police deal with it."

She said she will never know the full details as her father's case was closed once he took his own life.

Henderson also said she and her daughter have faced awful consequences because of her father's actions, including rape threats.

She was unable to have a funeral for her father because of fears that vigilantes might turn up and Duff was instead cremated miles away. The inquest was closed for the same reason.

"How was my Dad associated with anything like that - the dad that I grew up with, the dad that I loved?," Henderson asks.

Should alleged child sex abusers be "exposed" online?

A prolific paedophile hunter or "child protection enforcer" Jamie Lee, 29, said he does it [exposes alleged paedophiles online] as he was a victim of abuse.

He told BBC it's important for people to know what alleged sex abusers are capable of but is sympathetic to the view that some paedophile hunters behave erratically, and do not always put justice first.

"There's a big lack of responsibility in the whole community," he says.

"There's a lot of [people wanting] 15 minutes of fame and that winds me right up.

"They've took something that was meant to be great and reasonably responsible and it's not any more - it's a circus, it's embarrassing."

He decided to stop paedophile hunting after meeting Henderson and instead wants to go into schools and educate children about online grooming.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone elseis in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email online chat.
NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
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SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.