Former friends of a Chesterfield rapist who fled the country to fight Islamic State before being sentenced have spoken of their “shock” and “disgust”.
Barry Hall, 41, formerly of Fernwood Close, Hasland, Chesterfield, was wanted by Derbyshire police after being convicted of two counts of rape and three assaults in July 2010 in his absence at Derby Crown Court last year.
An ex-pal, who lives in Chesterfield but does not want to be named, said her group of friends met Hall, who described himself on social media as an ‘ISIS slayer’, about five years ago.
The group had given him a send off after he claimed he was going to fight extremists in Iraq.
“When he said that, in his own words, he was going to ‘fight ISIS’, everyone was really surprised,” she said.
“Our group of friends supported him and gave him a send off. Some people sent care packages and toiletries to him out there. We thought he was doing this great thing off his own back to help out people.
“There was always something strange about him. He was quite a welcoming person, but odd. You could not quite put your finger on it.
“People are absolutely disgusted with him now. He has been around my two-year-old daughter and it creeps me out. It is absolutely horrible.
“I unfriended him off Facebook because he was putting sadistic photos on it and pictures of blown up bodies.”
A cousin of Hall, who did not want to be named, said Hall always had an interest in guns. “I was not surprised to hear he had gone out there,” he said.
Hall, who claims to be a former British soldier, even set-up a fundraising page to help cover his food and vet bills for his dog, which received £1,700 in donations.
His Go Fund Me page, now taken down, said: “I’m Barry an ex-British soldier working as a medical volunteer with a group of western veterans that are here helping the Kurdish people in northern Iraq.
“As a volunteer I obviously have to self fund myself and maintain my personal kit and equipment which at times can be extremely difficult.
“I also have to cover all the food and vet bills for my dog Max, he’s a German Shepard that I took in when I arrived here in Kurdistan.”
Hall said his average monthly living expenses were about £100 and the donations would go towards medical equipment, medicines, toiletries, basic food essentials and for flights home for him and his dog.
His Twitter account @bazza11311 was also deleted earlier this year, after details of his crimes emerged.
Hall had been wanted by Derbyshire police after he was found guilty of two rapes and a common assault and pleaded guilty to a charge of ABH and assault by beating.
He was arrested at Manchester Airport on Thursday, May 5 and resentenced to seven years and five months on Friday (May 6).
Detective Constable Matthew Greatorex said: “A large amount of work has been put into tracking down Hall and ensuring that he returned to the country. I am pleased that this work has paid off and Hall is now behind bars paying the price for the crimes he committed.”