March 2021

Paedophile captured by group waiting on his ‘boy lover’

This is the moment a self-confessed paedophile was snared by online paedophile hunters

Stephen Magowan (41) agreed to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old boy called ‘Luke’ for sex in June last year.

However, when he showed up near Yorkgate train station in north Belfast, he was confronted by members of a paedophile hunting group.

Magowan, with an address in west Belfast, was sentenced to three years’ probation and placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years when he appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a child following grooming.

Magowan suggested getting together with who he thought was a schoolboy after befriending him on an internet chatroom.

Despite ‘Luke’ telling him he was aged just 15, the pervert pestered him for sex and organised a meeting.

He initially ran away when confronted by a group of vigilantes who recorded the encounter, but they chased after Magowan and cornered him at an underpass.

While waiting on police to arrive, he said, “I actually thought he was 16,” before conceding the person he had spoken to clearly stated he was under-age.

Magowan also confessed to asking ‘Luke’ to perform sex acts on him and telling him to “keep this between us”.

When challenged by his captors, the predator added: “It’s not appropriate. It’s not acceptable. I understand it’s not acceptable.”

An earlier court hearing was told how Magowan was forced to flee his home when footage of him being confronted was placed online after his arrest last summer.

His barrister said: “He’s charged with sexual communication with a child, set up by a vigilante group who were waiting for him. He was tortured out of his own home and had to go and live somewhere else.”

Magowan, a father-of-one, was also forced to quit his job of 20 years when co-workers saw the online clips of him being confronted.