Man threatened after falsely identified as child abuser on social media

Gardaí say man is ‘completely innocent’ and caution people against vigilantism

A man required Garda protection in Kildare over the weekend because he was falsely identified as a notorious child abuser on social media.

On Friday the website KildareNow published an article stating that convicted child abuser Anthony Luckwill had been spotted in the town of Monasterevin by locals on several days during the week.

KildareNow put the article on its Facebook page prompting one reader to then post a picture of a man in the Monasterevin area which he claimed to be Luckwill.

This man was not Luckwill.


Later that day the same man was approached by locals in a pub and verbally threatened and gardaí were called to escort him safely from the area.

A Garda spokeswoman described the matter as “a public order incident” and stressed the man was completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

She urged people to avoid taking such matters into their own hands and to contact gardaí if they have concerns about a person.

There is no evidence Luckwill was in Monasterevin or in Kildare last week.

Kildare Now has since deleted the article and published an apology to the man, who it said “had a completely legitimate reason to be in the town.”

It also appealed to readers not to post any more pictures of the innocent man on its page.

“Yesterday, KildareNow published an article based on the concerns of parents in Monasterevin and elsewhere that convicted sex offender Anthony Luckwill was seen in these areas,” the apology stated.

“We published a verified police ‘mug shot’ photograph of Luckwill with the article.

“However, under our article on Facebook, a reader posted a photo of a completely innocent person in the comments section who they believed looked like Luckwill, and who was seen in Monasterevin.

“As a result an altercation took place between locals and that innocent person - who had no link to Luckwill whatsoever and who had a completely legitimate reason to be in the town.

“As a result this innocent person had to be given Garda protection in order to leave the area.

“KildareNow would like to unreservedly apologise to that innocent person who gardaí also confirmed is not Anthony Luckwill.

“We also ask that no further images of this innocent person are posted on KildareNow’s Facebook or any other social media platform.”

The KildareNow website is owned by River Media which publishes several regional online and print newspapers around the country. It did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

A Garda source said whoever posted the photograph “should be ashamed of themselves.”

He said Luckwill was being closely monitored and that vigilante actions only made it harder to supervise him and other offenders.

“If he thinks he’s going to be attacked everywhere he goes, he’s going to go underground”.

It is the latest in a string of incidents involving locals concerned about the presence of Luckwill in their communities.

Luckwill (45) with a last known address in Clondalkin, Dublin has served several prison terms for sexual offences.

Last year he was released from prison after serving two years and nine months of a 4½-year sentence for sexually abusing two teenage boys.

He had posed as a casting agent to convince his victims' mothers to leave them at his Navan, Co Meath, apartment where he engaged in sexual activities with them.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times