14/08/2014 12:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Pregnant Woman Jailed For Brutal Attack On Man She Mistook For A Paedophile

Pregnant woman jailed for brutal attack on man she mistook for a paedophile

A woman who attacked an innocent man after online claims that he was a paedophile has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Rachel Ashworth, 28, who is now 15 weeks pregnant with her first child, was part of a gang who violently attacked a man in his own home after a website wrongly identified him as a paedophile.

Ashworth entered the man's Lancashire home with two men. She kicked and punched the victim before smashing a trophy over his head, leaving him unconscious.

The man has since moved from the area following the attack on June 16 which left him with a broken rib, cuts and bruises.

Burnley Crown Court heard the victim wasn't, and never had been, a sex offender. He was wrongly labelled an 'active predator' on a fraudulent website called Predators Watch, which has now been shut down.

Following her arrest, Ashworth told police he was a paedophile and it was 'all over the internet.' She also wrote on Facebook that she had 'defo found the right one,' adding: "I even jumped on his head myself."

She also posted:" Any paedophile deserves hanging."

Ashworth had earlier admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates.

Miss Kimberley Obrusik, prosecuting, said of the victim: "He must have become unconscious as the next thing he was aware of was hearing a car speeding away. He called the police and ambulance and was kept in hospital for 24 hours.

"He suffers from epilepsy and was vulnerable. Since the assault, there have been significant complications."

Kristian Cavanagh, for Ashworth, said she was studying for a diploma in beauty therapy, and added:
"The defendant knows this is a very serious offence. She recognises that it was a stupid thing to do, including the entry on Facebook. She took it off within an hour and has since left Facebook."

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said Ashworth had not named the other two involved in the attack and they had not been caught and arrested:

"It was vigilantism, wrongly. You identified this entirely innocent man. He's now seeking help with mental issues, suffers panic attacks, his epilepsy has been made worse and he's moved out of the area because he was afraid to stay where he was."