Melbourne mum apologises after wrongfully accusing father of three on Facebook

Father of three wrongfully accused of photographing children.
Father of three wrongfully accused of photographing children. Photo: Supplied

A Melbourne woman left a father of three devastated after she wrongfully accused him on Facebook.

The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, thought the man was taking photos of her children at a shopping centre in Melbourne's east. Following the man - she took his picture and branded him a "creep" on social media.

Although the woman removed the post as soon as she realised she had made a mistake, it was too late – the post had been shared over 20,000 times.

Speaking to Knox Leader the woman said: "It was never done with the intention of splashing it all over these social media pages."

"I just need to say sorry ... for not letting [the police] do their job, and putting my concerns on social media."

The woman was shopping in Target at Westfield Knox when she mistakenly thought the man was photographing her children at the Star Wars display.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the man said he was at Target looking for a present for his wife's birthday.

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"As I was walking out of Target I saw a very large Darth Vader cut out for taking photographs - it said 'May the 4th be with you' - and I've got three children and they love all that Comic-Con, Supernova, science fiction stuff," he said.

As the man took a selfie, he told some kids who were also lining up to take a picture, "I'll only be a second, I'm taking a selfie to send to my kids."

The next day his wife called him panicking. 

"My partner rang me and said she'd been contacted by somebody interstate who had seen the post and recognised me," he said.

He went straight to Knox police station where his phone was analysed.

"I'm a father of three kids and a normal human being... I've never taken a selfie before," he said.

"I was in two minds whether to take the selfie, but I thought it'll be a good daggy dad joke.

"In real terms it was embarrassing enough to be standing in front of Darth Vader to be honest."

Knox Leader said the woman broke down several time during the interview claiming she thought her Facebook page was on private.

Since the post, the woman has received death threats, and revealed her children are also paying the price for her mistake.

"My children are going through an enormous amount of pain [because of this] and I hate to think what [the man] and his family are going through," the woman told Knox Leader

"I just don't know how to say sorry enough."

Learning from her mistakes she said: "Trust the police - leave it up to them, don't go putting anything up on social media.

"I should not have put any picture on any social media, even if I thought it was private.

"One thousand times over I wish I could just take it back.

"I think the biggest lesson out of it all is not to post anything that could hurt anybody on any media."

The man and woman plan to meet next week so she can apologise face-to-face.

"I'm grateful she has acknowledged her mistake and error of judgement. I have no doubt it has been a very difficult situation for her, but it also has for me, so there has been no winners in this particular circumstance."

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