A SOUTH Derbyshire man arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual grooming – after footage purporting to show him arranging to meet a 14-year-old girl and ‘take her back to his house’ appeared online – has been charged by police.
Darren Martin, of Church Gresley, was due to appear at Derby Magistrates’ Court today.
Martin vehemently protested his innocence after the video was posted on social networking site Facebook by a self-proclaimed ‘paedophile hunter’ when he was subsequently contacted by the Mail.
He has now been formally charged by Derbyshire Police.
The 41-year-old claimed his life had been ruined after suffering a torrent of abuse after the video went viral.
The so-called paedophile hunter, whose identity is known to the Mail, posted a video on Facebook which claimed to show the suspect arriving at road where it was suggested he was to meet an underage girl and take her back to his home.
Martin did not deny being the man in the video, but said he showed up on the premise that he was meeting an 18-year-old girl he had been chatting to on a dating website.
He said the accusations had left him isolated after being shunned by friends and members of his family.
Martin confessed that during his darkest hour he had even considered taking his life.
Speaking to the Mail in June, a defiant Martin insisted he would clear his name.
He said: “I’m no groomer or paedophile and I will prove my innocence, one way or another.”
But the case took a new twist yesterday when Derbyshire Police formally charged Martin with attempted sexual grooming.
He was due to appear before magistrates today.