Just William star targeted by stalker on Facebook... but when parents complained about fake page, internet giant and Scotland Yard fail to act

Child actor Daniel Roche, who played Just William in the recent BBC1 series, has been targeted by an internet stalker who set up a fake Facebook page in his name.

The faker used the bogus page to chat to the 11-year-old’s primary school friends and even tried to arrange a meeting with one girl.

But when Daniel’s mother asked Facebook to take the page down they failed to act – until The Mail on Sunday stepped in.

Threatened: Just William actor Daniel Roach, pictured with his mother Judi, was targeted by an internet stalker

Threatened: Just William actor Daniel Roach, pictured with his mother Judi, was targeted by an internet stalker

The page, which also revealed Daniel’s home address, school and other sensitive details, was finally taken down on Friday at our request.

Daniel, who also starred in the comedy Outnumbered, is regarded as one of the country’s leading screen talents and was nominated for ‘Best Male Newcomer’ at the British Comedy Awards.

A fake page was also set up in the name of eight-year-old Isabella Blake-Thomas, who played Violet Elizabeth Bott in Just William.

And Daniel’s mother only found out about his fake profile when Isabella’s mother Lizzie told her. Isabella’s parents managed to persuade Facebook to close down the page.

But when Daniel’s parents, Judi and Tony Roche, contacted Facebook to demand that the page should be removed, nothing was done.

Scotland Yard also failed to act after Mrs Roche complained to a police station in North London.

Mrs Roche said: ‘The police said there was nothing they could do and referred me to the eVictims charity.

‘I contacted Facebook, but they did nothing and did not take the page off.’

Frustrated by Facebook’s failure to act, Mrs Roche and Daniel decided to take on the internet pest at his own game.

They persuaded friends and family to inundate the page with messages saying it was a fake. Daniel even posted a home-made video of himself on the page to prove it had nothing to do with him and joked on it: ‘This could be an old man living in an attic.’

Disturbingly, the faker kept removing the video and Mrs Roche had to continually re-post it to the site. Eventually, the Facebook fake admitted on the page that he was not Daniel Roche.

TV star: Daniel Roche in the popular BBC Children's show Just William

TV star: Daniel Roche in the popular BBC Children's show Just William

Four hours after The Mail on Sunday contacted Facebook on Friday, the page was closed down – seven months after Daniel’s parents asked them to do so.

Mrs Roche said: ‘What upset me was that friends of Daniel’s, older children from Daniel’s school, were going on to this account thinking it was Daniel and then talking to this person about the school that Daniel goes to.

‘He did a music festival with school and someone came on and said, “Do you remember me? We were in the choir next to the church.”

‘This person even asked a young girl at Daniel’s school if she wanted to meet him. Fortunately, she didn’t.

‘Daniel’s a child. He was just 10 years old when this began. He is talked about in the Press and things like that, but we don’t talk about where he lives.

‘Eventually, I became a friend on Facebook and the man running the page actually let me be friends with him,’ Mrs Roche added.

‘I got the school to put out an email to the whole school saying, “Don’t talk to this person, because it isn’t Daniel Roche.

”‘Dan did a little video saying, “This is me – Daniel Roche. I’m Daniel Roche. I’ve had my hair cut since I did Just William.

‘He pulled out a comedy award and a picture of him in Outnumbered. He said, “To prove I’m the real Daniel Roche, this is my comedy award.”

‘He said, “Under no circumstances think this person is really Daniel Roche, because he isn’t.”

‘We put it on Facebook and we linked it to the guy’s page,’ added Mrs Roche.

‘But he kept taking it off, and I kept linking it back on and he kept taking it back off again. It was a bit creepy, frankly.’

Victim: Co-star Isabella Blake-Thomas also had a fake web page. Her mother warned the Roches

Victim: Co-star Isabella Blake-Thomas also had a fake web page. Her mother warned the Roches

Her husband described the bogus web page and the impersonator’s attempt to meet the young girl as ‘all very seedy’.

Mrs Roche said last night: ‘Thank you so much for doing that. We are very grateful.’

ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen said: ‘Facebook need to take more responsibility for this kind of thing. They need to be more aware of the need to protect children.

‘It is a matter of concern when children are in the public eye, because it is slightly threatening. It’s like having a doppelganger, a ghostly fake replica child.

‘It is something that Facebook needs to take extremely seriously. To include the kind of personal details about a child that went on the site has an unpleasantness, and there ought to be a very simple and immediate remedy offered by Facebook.’

Last year, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre attacked Facebook for refusing to install a panic button which would allow users to report inappropriate behaviour on the site directly to CEOP.

Facebook also snubbed a plea by David Cameron last summer to take down a web page set up in tribute to gunman Raoul Moat, the former nightclub bouncer who shot at three people – killing one of them – before turning the gun on himself.

A Facebook spokeswoman said last night: ‘The fake profile has been removed.

‘Unlike other websites and forums, Facebook has clear rules which state that you must be who you say you are.

‘It’s against Facebook’s rules to use a fake name or operate under a false identity and we provide our users with the tools to report anyone they think is doing this via report links on every page of our site.

‘These tools enable people to flag exactly why they are reporting someone, for example an inappropriate picture or a fake profile, and we urge all our users to make sure they are aware of how to use these reporting tools correctly.’

The Facebook spokeswoman refused to discuss the details of Daniel Roche’s case, claiming that this newspaper had not provided it with evidence of what they termed ‘unwanted contact’.

Scotland Yard said it had ‘no knowledge’ of a complaint having been made by Mrs Roche.

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