A TEENAGER who shares the same name as a man charged with sexually assaulting an elderly care home resident has been receiving death threats by people mistakenly believing it is him.

The family of 19-year-old Dylan Birkett has urged the public not to confuse him with another Dylan Birkett, 20, who has appeared in court accused of sexually assaulting a resident at St Georges Nursing Home in Barrow.

Nicola Birkett said her son had ‘done nothing wrong’ and was being targeted by vigilantes online mistaking his identity.

She said: “When we first heard rumours in the town about what had happened I got worried because they were similar ages and had the exact same name.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was worried about his safety as a mother.”

Mrs Birkett said her son, who works at Furness Brick & Tile in Askam, began receiving death threats and abusive messages when the allegation was made.

“He would go out on the weekend, say his name and people would believe he was the other Dylan,” she said.

“People were messaging him calling him disgusting - it’s just awful for him.

“People have said why don’t you change your name? But why should he? He’s done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Mrs Birkett said she feared her son would be attacked on nights out.

“I’ve got to get the word out there that this is not him,” she said.

“I want peace of mind knowing he’s safe when he goes out on the weekends and is not going to be mixed up with this other Dylan.

“My son is is a hard-working individual who has never stepped foot in a care home.

“I feel very protective, as a mother I want to help him.”

Dylan Birkett, of Marsh Street, was released on bail last week and will next appear in court on August 17.

He has been charged with engaging in sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder, wilfully neglecting a person without capacity, inciting sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder and assault by beating.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden, head of crime and safeguarding at Cumbria Police, described vigilante activities as ‘idiotic’.

He said: “By people sending death threats and harassing people online, they are actually diverting and wasting police resources.

“It’s just idiotic.

"We see this when people get the wrong names or addresses for sex offenders and then target the house, ultimately diverting police attention.

“By people doing that they are making nonsensical diversions of police resources.

“It is a minority of people who do this but often, I’ve found, they have too much time on their hands or are not so white in their backgrounds themselves.”