Gardener killed himself after being confronted by paedophile hunters

David Baker (left) was arrested by police; Stephen Dure from the paedophile hunter group called TRAP

A gardener took his own life after being confronted by paedophile hunters, an inquest heard.

David Baker was confronted by vigilante group the Southampton Trap group after allegedly arranging to meet a 14-year-old child in a supermarket car park in Portswood, Southampton, on October 4, 2017.

Baker was arrested by police and questioned on suspicion of arranging to meet a child aged under 16.

After he was released while under investigation, the 43-year-old was found dead at his home in Wickham, Hampshire, on October 7, after writing two notes to his family and barricading himself in and taking an overdose of prescription medication, the inquest at Winchester was told.

Baker’s fiancee, Kelly Davies, found out about the vigilante sting through friends and Facebook posts by Trap, the hearing was told.

The vigilante group, which is run by Stephen Dure, released the following statement on their Facebook page.

The Facebook post by TRAP after Mr Baker’s death

Ms Davies said: ‘None of us knew anything, we just thought it was someone being sick, we didn’t really believe it. We were all really upset, the whole family.’

Ms Davies, who was due to marry Baker this year, said she moved out of the house with her daughter and granddaughter to stay in a friend’s caravan after discovering the news.

Her daughter, Cherelle Stares said they had not felt safe staying at their home.

She said: ‘Our address was put publicly on social media, I didn’t feel safe as there are idiots out there and I didn’t want a brick being put through the window with my mum and daughter there.’

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Pc James Giles said Baker was advised to answer all questions during his interview as ‘no comment’, but also told him not to answer questions about his welfare and state of mind.

He added that he was given leaflets of independent charities and helplines that could provide him with support and advice.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Grahame Short said: ‘It’s clear he was offered advice and he was asked as to his state of mind. I do not know if it would have made any difference if his solicitor had allowed him to answer questions about his state of mind or welfare but he didn’t in any event.’

He added: ‘It’s not for me to judge David’s actions on October 4 or indeed the actions of Southampton Trap which led to his arrest.

‘However I believe in this particular case the postings on social media after his arrest contributed to the stress on David and to him being alone and isolated in his own home where he made his decision to end his own life.

‘This was therefore a causative factor to what led to his death, at least in part.’