A HEADINGTON man confronted by ‘vigilante’ paedophile hunters at his home after messaging a woman posing as a 13-year-old girl has been spared prison.

Between August and December last year Gary Lewendon exchanged dozens of messages with the woman, encouraging her to send him explicit images of herself, as well as sending indecent pictures of himself and a video of himself performing a sex act.

The 44-year-old even arranged to meet the ‘teenager’ but backed out at the last minute.

Mark Stevens, prosecuting at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday, said when Lewendon returned to the Mather Road home he shared with his elderly mother on December 11, he was met by two men from a local ‘paedophile hunting group’.

They had been passed his information by the woman, who is part of a similar group based in the north of England .

Mr Stevens told the court the confrontation was live streamed on the group’s Facebook page before the men called the police.

Lewendon, who pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to incite a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity and three counts of attempting to incite a child under 16 to view images of sexual activity, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Condemning the ‘vigilante’ aspect of the case, Judge Peter Ross said: “There are troubling features about what went on. Once the chat logs had been obtained there was nothing whatsoever to prevent those who had been acting as decoys or those in this area going to the police with that information and leaving it there.

“To go to someone’s home and record the admissions and load that confrontation live as it happened on the internet is a matter of real concern to this court.”

Judge Ross said his sentence reflected the fact Lewendon had been in custody since his arrest but added he was concerned the man had not yet ‘faced up’ to his actions.