A man has spoken of his “five years of hell” at being mistaken for a sex offender.
Paul Hope, 35, of Ashton, Preston, shares the same name and is from the same part of the city as a man convicted of sexual activity with a child under 16.
He said he has been unable to get jobs, hold down friendships and relationships and has been attacked because of the mistaken identity.
He said: “I’m no angel, but I’m no sex offender. I’ve never been questioned, arrested, convicted, acquitted, or anything to do with being a sex offender, and I’ve got to clear my name.
“But people Google my name in front of my face and think all the stories that come up are about me.
“I even got it in Hungary when my grandad died out there and I went out. I handed my passport in where I was staying and then the following morning they had searched my name.
“But I’m 35 and he’s 30, I’m 6ft2in and he’s 5ft8in, I’m dark and he’s got blond hair, I’m slim and he’s stocky. But the backlash has been unbelievable, it’s ruined my life.
“My mum and my grandmother are getting trouble about it too and it’s not fair.”
Paul said he recently spent time in prison for a section 18 assault for using excessive self-defence on someone who attacked him.
He said: “It was the worst being in prison and everyone thinking I’m a sex offender.
“But I never went on protection because why should I? I’m not who they thought I was.”
The Paul Hope who is a sex offender is 30 and was jailed for 32 months in 2010 after being convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child under 16.
On January 15 this year he went missing after failing to report for regular checks at an address in Blackburn, but was arrested a day later and recalled to prison.