A man who threatened to take violent revenge on online peadophile hunters who exposed his brother as a pervert has been spared jail.
Furious Gary Williams, 34, issued warnings to Dark Justice that they should "watch their backs" after they snared his brother Ian Williams, 36, who had hoped to take a 14-year-old girl's virginity.
The older brother had believed he was chatting to an innocent schoolgirl during a series of sickening text exchanges but had actually been communicating with the online hunters.
He was confronted by Dark Justice and arrested when he turned up to meet the youngster.
During the court proceedings, the younger sibling started messaging Dark Justice via email, protesting his brother's innocence, despite the fact he had already pleaded guilty.
The messaging culminated with threats of potential attack if the group, who were witnesses in the case, turned up at the hearing.
Prosecutor Paul Roland Newcastle Crown Court: "Mr Williams has a brother named Ian who last year was arrested and charged with attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
"He pleaded guilty to that matter in early October last year.
"The proceedings come about through an operation by an organisation called Dark Justice.
"They are, in essence, a number of persons who have formed an organisation and who investigate, through their own volition, online child exploitation and grooming."
The court heard it was on October 25 last year the first email was sent to Dark Justice from Gary Williams, using his own account.
Mr Rowland said: "He said they they had got it wrong and said that he, meaning Ian, didn't do it."
The court heard when Dark Justice pointed out his brother's guilty plea, the exchanges turned nasty.
Mr Rowland added: "He stated that if they attended court, they had better watch their backs."
Williams, of Wallace Street, Dunston, pleaded guilty to threatenting to take revenge.
Mr Recorder Richard Woolfall sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 120 hours unpaid work and £340 costs.
The judge told him: "This is an unusual set of circumstances, quite unusual, I have not come across a case similar to this, it is not your classic case of revenge.
"That said, it is still a serious offence. The courts take it particularly seriously when people interfere with justice and take revenge with people."
The judge said Williams' guilty plea and previous good character meant the jail term could be suspended.
He added: "You acted foolishly and in a way which is highly out of character for you."
Shaun Routledge, defending, said Williams reacted because his family home had come under attack after his brother's arrest.
Mr Routledge said: "People came and daubed the door, smashed the door in. It ultimately led to having an alarm put into their home address."
Mr Routledge said Williams had sent to the emails to the Dark Justice organisation web address, rather than an individual he knew by name.
Mr Routledge added: "Essentially, he is a good man who does his best to help his parents.
"He is a sound member of society. He poses a low risk of harm and a low risk of re-offending."
Speaking after the hearing, Dark Justice said they abide by the letter of the law during their operations and any future threats would also be reported.
They said: "We are involved in the protection of children online but we also take our own safety extremely seriously and are constantly aware and vigilant.
"Any future warnings would be reported in the same way. We cannot tolerate threats of violence, whether people agree with what we are doing or not.
"Generally, we have nothing but support from the public for our work."
Jobless Ian Williams was caught on camera when he turned up to meet who he thought was an underage girl.
He believed he had been chatting to a nervous, virgin schoolgirl online, who he promised to teach how to "kiss and make love".
Williams fled the scene at Newcastle city centre when he was confronted by Dark Justice and threw his phone away.
He was arrested by police who were armed with a stash of evidence gathered by Dark Justice.
Williams, of Wallace Street, Dunston, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child after grooming.
He was jailed for two years, told to sign the sex offenders register for ten years and told to abide by a sexual offences prevention order for life.
During their online conversations, Williams told the girl not to say anything about their meeting as "I could get called a paedo".
Williams reassured the girl he would teach her how to kiss and how to make love and said just before their meeting: "Do you realise, you will not be a virgin
any more after tomorrow?"
He told the girl to wear "something sexy" for their meeting then joked that her clothing would not be on for long.
He told her in one message: "I can't wait to take your virginity."
When Williams was arrested he initially claimed someone had stolen his phone and must be responsible for the conversations conducted on it.
He later confessed they were his own "stupid" actions.