He Fought The Law (and the law won)

A Cautionary Tale

As you may have gathered from the subtitle, this is going to be a rather different post from my usual type, whatever that is. It is, however, one of the more important subjects about which I have written, so I hope you read it. I should warn you that it is a topic which I wish had never come anywhere near my blog, as it is so horrible, but I feel strongly that I need to write and share this.

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion my ambivalent relationship with social media, particularly Twitter. Whilst I acknowledge how helpful this was in drawing me back into the world from the depths of my depression period five years ago, I have used it much less of late. One of the reasons for this is that I am very wary of who might really be talking on there. Most are, happily, upfront in saying who they are and their tweets reflect that. But others aren’t. Some, but not all of these, hide behind an avatar which isn’t a picture of themselves. Others Photoshop themselves into an idealised image of what they would like to look like – or, in the sadder cases, what they believe they actually do look like. These are often hiding someone whose purpose in being there is to conceal a real life existence to which they would rather not admit – even to themselves – and/or to use Twitter as a vehicle to abuse others with a degree of impunity. Of course I accept that many have perfectly legitimate reasons to use avatars, privacy being the most genuine of these. Sadly, others use them for less noble reasons.

At the time he closed his account last year @fiatpanda had, I think, around 10k Twitter followers. They must have been big fans of his regular outpourings of vitriol and his obsessive use of the ‘c’ word, which I never use even to myself, so I’m not about to start now. And in his case ‘c’ doesn’t stand for ‘car’ or ‘cuddly.’ He is one of those wannabes who cling to the coat tails of Z-list ‘celebrities’ in the hope that he can achieve their level of ‘fame,’ despite being an IT technician with no other appreciable talents. Frankly, though, the thought that he has the skills to hack into computer systems terrifies me. He never used his real picture and instead used a nice little panda to go with his chosen fake name. Here he is:

Oh, wait, why is there blood dripping from his hands? I’ll tell you why. In real life, @fiatpanda is actually a man by the name of Simon Guerrero. This is what he really looks like:

Fairly unremarkable, though to my eyes there’s a hint of malevolence about his appearance, a bit of a cross between Hitler and the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

My interest in him is that he was, for a year, one of the many ex-boyfriends/casual sexual partners of the ex-wife of a friend of mine. She was also very active on Twitter. She closed her previous account, with around with 13k followers, most of whom would no doubt be horrified and surprised to find out what she is really like, and how they have been fooled by the façade she presents. But she returned a couple of months ago, and was slowly building follower levels. However, her new account disappeared when she realised that Guerrero’s number was up. I called her out a few weeks ago, and was met with her usual victim act, plus random abuse from some of her followers, who have clearly fallen for her false persona and lies. I could go on at great length about her use of Parental Alienation (PAS or, on Twitter, #PAS) to deprive my friend of access to his daughter, and how she has systematically wrecked her children’s upbringing, but that is not my objective with this piece. The temptation to expose this woman is great but I’m not going to say any more about her. For now. The point of this piece is to reveal Guerrero for the piece of human detritus that he is.

If you Google his name you will find references to this, from 2008:

What a nice man, you might think. But times have moved on and he has revealed his true nature. Last month, Guerrero was found guilty at Swindon Crown Court on 8 charges of child pornography, 5 of which were listed as Category A, the most serious type. Just to be clear, Category A covers ‘penetrative sexual activity and sexual activity with an animal or sadism,’ to quote the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines. The case was originally due for trial in March 2016, but was delayed twice while further evidence was gathered. This included liaison with the FBI, whose radar he had landed upon due to his activity on the dark web. I understand that some of the images and films which caused Guerrero to be charged involved very young children and animals: there can be nothing more sick, perverted and evil than that. Now that the pre-sentencing reports have finally been completed he was sentenced on Thursday to 21 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to go on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years, and to surrender all of his computing devices. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and his defence throughout the trial was to profess ignorance about how this stuff came to be on his computers, apparently unknown to an IT expert like him. The jury rightly saw through this and Guerrero only changed his tune on this at the sentencing hearing, at which he apologised to the judge. I wasn’t there, but I know someone who was, and there is some doubt about the truth of what he told the judge when he was trying to avoid a prison sentence – there may yet be more of this story to come.

As an example of the way he presented himself on Twitter, I have found this summary of the various profile descriptions he has used over the years:

A general touch of arrogance runs through those, which is just so typical of him. I’ve been told that he started the account, with the same avatar and @fiatpanda name, some six or seven years ago, purporting to be James May, from the BBC Top Gear programme. He was outed as a fake account, but I guess that’s one way of driving up your follower numbers.

Guerrero is also a self-published author, with one ‘book’ to his name. To save you the trouble, here’s a screenshot of it from Amazon:

Your first reaction may be that 99p is a trifle expensive for an 8 page story by an unknown author. Mine too, but look more deeply. If you go beyond all those 5 star reviews which he no doubt managed to persuade his friends to leave, you’ll see that this is a story for children. It takes a very weird and perverted mind to write something for an audience who constitute his preferred target of abuse.

I once ‘enjoyed’ a little of his Twitter abuse. I had said a couple of things which made it clear that I supported my friend in his ongoing battle against his ex-wife, who was at that time Guerrero’s ‘love interest.’ Clearly, he believed all of her abhorrent lies about my friend, and turned on several of us for supporting her ex-husband. By his standards, this was mild – he only called me ‘a very stupid man,’ rather than his preferred mode of abusive terminology (c*** if you had forgotten). It pales into insignificance alongside the horrible abuse he gave my friend on Twitter, which might have destroyed a lesser man. And all because his brain was in his todger, rather than his head.

This evil man now has a criminal record as the vilest of sex offenders, which I would imagine will make it difficult for him to find work in future: would you trust him to work on your computer network? I know I wouldn’t! I also hope that his ex-girlfriend, my friend’s ex-wife, is next in line to be charged. I find it impossible to believe that she knew nothing of what he was doing, much of which took place while they were in a relationship and he was with her and her daughters. She tweeted often at that time about her youngest daughter running around the house naked – it doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it? If so, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on her too, if and when her time comes. Wishful thinking, maybe, but I live in hope. In the meantime, I hope she can live with herself knowing that she was the sex toy of a despicable man who may well have been preying on her younger children.

As I said at the outset, whilst you will no doubt have picked up the strength of my antipathy towards this man, this is meant to be a cautionary tale. Are you always sure who you’re dealing with on social media? Thankfully, most aren’t like Guerrero, but please take care. As I said earlier, my usage of Twitter is greatly reduced from my first couple of years there, and I prefer to keep my online social interactions within Facebook, which is more easily controlled. Several of you have become Facebook friends, and I value this. Equally, quite a few of you are with me on Twitter and Instagram too, which is fun. But lurking in the bigger, wider world are people you wouldn’t want to know, hiding behind the façade of respectability that online personae can give you. That is why I felt so strongly that I had to write this piece: sadly, there are probably many more like Guerrero lurking out there. Be alert.

A brief footnote: you’ll probably have realised that I’ve shortened the story quite a lot for this post. If you’d like to know more – from someone directly on the receiving end of Guerrero’s abuse – you can read my friend’s post here. Or, if you are on Twitter, search for the #SimonLGuerrero hashtag – there’s a lot there! Beware, it isn’t pleasant but, then again, neither is Guerrero.

And a final apology: I’ve thought long and hard before posting this piece, as I know it runs the risk of offending and upsetting my regular friends and readers. I apologise if it does, but I hope you can agree that the importance of the subject outweighs this risk.

Thank You – Reblogged, with a new commentary

Looking back over my posts in previous years, I think there might be a theme developing for this time of year. I’ve no idea why, but this seems to be the time when I question why I blog, what it means to me, and whether it is worth continuing.

I originally started at the suggestion of my counsellor, when I was going through CBT for depression. He got me writing about thoughts and feelings in a way I’d never done before, and encouraged me to develop these pieces into blog posts. This was a huge step into the unknown for me, but I eventually did it – three months after I first set the page up! – and was taken aback at the amount of support I received, and at how my words touched a chord with so many people. I still occasionally revisit mental health as a subject, but it didn’t take me long to realise that there were many others writing about the subject on a regular basis, and they were much better at it than I was. That was nearly five years ago, and since then my posts have been sporadic. If you’re looking for someone who’ll post something every day, then I’m not for you. I envy the creativity of those who manage to find something to say every day – but I’m not like that, and I’d rather post only when I want my small voice to be heard. I did try the November blog posting month thing twice, but found that I was filling and padding just to meet the commitment: I don’t normally manage 30 posts in a year, let alone a month!

This post is exactly a month since my last one. Whilst there have been many things I could have said since then none of them seemed sufficiently new or substantial for a full post. I could have thrown out a few shorter pieces, but that, for me, isn’t what blogging means. It works for others, but not for me. I don’t feel comfortable writing just a sentence or two and sharing it here – that feels more like the way I use Facebook, if I’m honest. I could also have commented on my world view, but I’ve done that before – and no doubt will again – but anything I said now would only feel like I was repeating myself. And I’m not a ‘proper’ political commentator anyway!

So why am I posting this, and what do I have to say today that makes this worth posting – in my opinion – anyway? The reason is a very personal one for me. Two years ago, the world lost a wonderful person, who was taken by cancer at the stupidly early age of 45. On this day last year, I marked her passing with the post I’m reblogging alongside this piece. This has become one of my more ‘liked’ posts, and whilst many of you will have seen it before there are plenty who have followed my blog since then who won’t have read it. Even if you have, it would be good if you could read it again to mark her passing – I will always stand by what I said then, and know that I owe it to her as well as to myself to keep this blog going, even if I’m far from the most prolific of bloggers.

RIP Cyd. I miss you.

Take It Easy

I think my existential ‘crisis’ is over. Yes, really! My last post was nearly a month ago and that was merely a reblog of an earlier post, with some added words to put it into current context. I raised the question about why we blog, and whether it was worth it. I said that I was working on a full post to share all of my reasoning, and I still am. But I’ve also been looking back over my previous nearly four years’ worth of ramblings and this seems to be a topic to which I keep returning! Maybe another day, then, and I’ll try to draw them all together into one composite post. Possibly….

So why am I here today? July 28th. Is it a special day in the calendar? No, not as far as I know, but it has special meaning for me. When I started this blog it…

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