Derbyshire family flee home after Facebook “paedophile” slur following row

A family has had to flee their home “for their own safety” after a “reckless” woman branded a man a “paedophile” on Facebook following a row.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 10:23 am

The scared Shirebrook mum - whose identity has been protected - says her children had to move schools - while she has also lost her job as a result of the public allegation, a court heard.

Chesterfield magistrates were told how in July last year Anna Layton wrote on Facebook “I wanted to make others aware there’s a paedophile in Shirebrook”.

Layton, who named her victim’s partner in the public post, wrote that he had “intended to groom my daughter”.

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She then asked “everyone to share because we have a paedophile in Shirebook”, adding: “Please share - we need to protect our families”.

Prosecutor Stella Moses told how the post was shared “hundreds” of times.

While other Facebook users wrote “I hope he gets what’s coming to him” and “if police won’t do anything get the c*** in the back of a van and gone”.

After the terrified mum reported the post she was advised by police “not to return” home with her family.

Anna Layton wrote on Facebook “I wanted to make others aware there’s a paedophile in Shirebrook”

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In a statement made in October - which was read out in court - the former support worker described how she and her family had “not been allowed to go home since”.

She said: “I’m scared of what might happen to us if we’re seen in the area - our children have had to change schools and have left their friends behind. It’s so unfair.

“It’s a massive interruption to their lives.”

She described how her disabled son - badly in need of “structure and routine” - was suffering while the family was living temporarily with her mother.

After the allegation was posted on Facebook the woman - a support worker still in her probationary period - was also let go by her employers.

Layton’s “heat of the moment” social media post came about following a row outside her victim’s home.

The court heard how the doorstep quarrel ended with “ranting and raving” Layton walking off “screaming” there was “a paedophile” in the victim’s house as neighbours came out to investigate.

Layton’s solicitor Julie Page told how during a police interview she claimed to have found a message from her victim’s partner to her daughter’s phone.

However prosecutor Ms Moses said “no action has been taken in respect of any messages sent to the defendant’s daughter”.

In her statement to the court the victim wrote: “I feel nervous that someone might somehow find out where I am.

“I don’t know if Anna realises quite how much of an impact this has had on me and my family - I don’t know whether this was intentional or just reckless.”

Julie Page, mitigating for Layton, said the 34-year-old had been “upset and angry” and “didn’t think of the consequences of what she did” - but she now felt “terrible”.

Layton, of Main Street, Scarcliffe, admitted sending an offensive message by a public communications network.

Her sentence was adjourned for a probation service report.

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