July 2017

Paedophile Robert Liddle jailed after withdrawing sentence appeal

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Convicted paedophile Robert Liddle has withdrawn his appeal against a three month jail sentence handed to him three weeks ago.

Liddle 69, of Moorlough Road, Drumgoole, Lisnaskea was led off to prison after he appeared at the Criminal Appeals Court sitting at Enniskillen Courthouse last Monday, where his defence barrister Heather Phillips said that Liddle was withdrawing his appeal.

At a previous sitting of Fermanagh Magistrates Court, Liddle had pleaded guilty to breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) by being in Dunnes Stores, Enniskillen between 4pm and 4.16pm in February 2017.

He is not allowed to be in a shopping centre between the hours of 7am-10am and 3pm-5pm.

He was sentenced to three months in prison and later released on his own bail of £500 pending an appeal.

Speaking on Monday, His Honour Judge Neil Rafferty QC said Liddle had received “very good advice” and confirmed his three-month sentence.

April 2015

A 66-year-old convicted paedophile caught on camera trying to look up the skirts of schoolgirls has been sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for two years.

Robert John Liddle, from Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court last October to committing an act of a “lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency”.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC deferred sentencing for five months to enable Liddle to continue with a probation programme designed to address his perverted behaviour.

He told the pensioner that if in five months there was a glowing probation report proving that he was “actively participating” in a treatment programme designed to address his deviant offending he would be given a suspended prison sentence. However, he warned Liddle that if he re-offended, breached any of the court orders he is under or simply turned up for his counselling sessions and did not fully participate, he would go to jail for two months.

Judge Kerr said he had considered giving Liddle a “short sharp shock” of a jail sentence but thought it would be preferable if he was allowed to continue with his probation programme.

Prosecuting counsel Laura Ievers had told the court how security staff at the Tesco supermarket in the Newtownbreda area of South Belfast became suspicious of Liddle. He was seen tracking a group of schoolgirls as they walked past him. The incident was captured on CCTV. Liddle could be seen trying to look up the skirts of two girls in school uniform as they went up the stairs. The girls were in their early teens.

The court heard that the security staff alerted police and told them that Liddle had “regularly attending the store”. When officers viewed the CCTV they were able to identify Liddle. They arrested him at his home at Lisnaskea.

During police interviews Liddle was “confronted” with the CCTV pictures and admitted trying to look up the girls’ skirts.

Liddle had previously been put on a three-year sexual offenders’ rehabilitation probation programme after he breached a court imposed SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) by going to a swimming pool at a Ballycastle caravan park in July 2011.

He was spotted by the swimming pool of the Silver Cliffs Holiday Village at Clare Road, Ballycastle, by a holiday maker from Fermanagh. She reported him to the police. He was interviewed and admitted going to the holiday park “which afforded him access to a child or young person”, in breach of his SOPO. He had failed to obtained the consent of the police officer appointed as his “designated risk manager” before making the unauthorised trip.

Ms Ievers had told the court that a suspended sentence for a previous breach of a SOPO had expired by just 18 days when Liddle committed his most recent offence. She submitted that a further SOPO was “necessary and proportionate” to protect the public.

Liddle’s designated risk manager, Ms Seline Cardy, said it was important to be able to keep track of Liddle’s movements, especially as he drives himself all over Northern Ireland.

As part of a new five-year SOPO, Liddle is barred from staying anywhere without prior approval, leaving Northern Ireland without approval and from denying police access to his home to ensure that he is complying with the Order.

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October 2014

A notorious paedophile caught trying to look up schoolgirls’ skirts in the middle of a busy supermarket has been given five months to get treatment for his deviant behaviour.

Robert John Liddle, from Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court to committing an act of “lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency”.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC deferred sentencing the 65-year-old pervert for five months.

He told the pensioner that if in five months there is a glowing probation report proving that he was “actively participating” in a treatment programme designed to address his deviant offending he would be given a suspended prison sentence.

However, he warned Liddle that if he re-offended, breached any of the court orders he is under or simply turned up for his counselling sessions and did not fully participate, he would go to jail for two months.

Prosecuting counsel Laura Ievers had told the court how security staff at the Tesco supermarket in the Newtownbreda area of South Belfast became suspicious of Liddle.

He was seen tracking a group of schoolgirls as they walked past him.

The incident was captured on CCTV. Liddle could be seen trying to look up the skirts of two girls in school uniform as they went up the stairs. The girls were in their early teens.

The court heard that the security staff alerted police and told them that Liddle had “regularly attending the store”. When officers viewed the CCTV they were able to identify Liddle. They arrested him at his home at Lisnaskea in March.

During police interviews Liddle was “confronted” by the CCTV pictures and admitted trying to look up the girls’ skirts.

Liddle, who has convictions for sexually abusing children as young as six, was described in 2000 as a “high risk” and a “danger to young girls” when he was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting an 11-year-old girl and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

He also has previous court appearances dating back to 1983 and 1990 when he sexually molested two girls, aged 12 and seven, while working as a gardener.

Once described as a “high risk” paedophile, Liddle is currently on a three-year sexual offenders’ rehabilitation probation programme after he breached a court imposed SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) by going to a swimming pool at a Ballycastle caravan park in July 2011.

Liddle was spotted by the swimming pool of the Silver Cliffs Holiday Village at Clare Road, Ballycastle, on July 29, by a holiday maker from Fermanagh. She reported Liddle to the police. He was interviewed and admitted going to the holiday park “which afforded him access to a child or young person”, in breach of his SOPO. He had failed to obtained the consent of the police officer appointed as his “designated risk manager” before making the unauthorised trip.

During Tuesday’s court hearing in Downpatrick, Ms Ievers revealed that a suspended sentence for a previous breach of a SOPO had expired by just 18 days when Liddle committed his most recent offence. She submitted that a further SOPO was “necessary and proportionate” to protect the public.

Liddle’s designated risk manager, Ms Seline Cardy, said it was important to be able to keep track of Liddle’s movements, especially as he drives himself all over Northern Ireland.

As part of the new five-year SOPO, Liddle is barred from staying anywhere without prior approval, leaving Northern Ireland without approval and from denying police access to his home to ensure that he is complying with the Order.

Deferring sentence until March 2015, Judge Kerr said he had considered giving Liddle a “short sharp shock” of a jail sentence but thought it would be preferable if he was allowed to continue with his probation programme.

May 2014

Convicted child abuser facing school girl charge

A 65-year-old convicted paedophile has allegedly been caught on camera trying to look up the skirts of schoolgirls.

Pensioner Robert John Liddle, from Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court and said he understood the single charge against him.

The convicted pervert is accused of outraging public decency on February 25, by “committing an act of lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency by deliberately placing yourself in a position to look up the skirts of schoolgirls”.

A police officer said he believed he could connect Liddle with the offence.

A prosecution lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for a month as a “full file” had been requested from the police and revealed that Liddle’s alleged behaviour had been captured on CCTV.

Releasing Liddle on his own bail of £250 and ordering him to come back to court on May 28, Deputy District Judge Gerald Trainor also barred him from “loitering in any area where children or minors are present” and from entering any branch of Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys supermarkets.

Granting legal aid, the judge also told Liddle he is prohibited from leaving his home between the hours of 7am to 10am and between 3pm and 5pm to allow for children going to and from school.

Once described as a “high risk” paedophile, Liddle is currently on a three year sexual offenders rehabilitation probation programme after he breached a court imposed SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) by going to a swimming pool at a Ballycastle caravan park in July 2011.

Liddle was spotted by the pool side of the Silver Cliffs Holiday Village at Clare Road, Ballycastle, by a holiday maker from Fermanagh, who reported her sighting to the police. Liddle subsequently admitted going to the holiday park “which afforded him access to a child or young person”, in breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), when he should first have obtained “consent from his designated risk manager” before making the unauthorised trip.

Liddle, who has convictions for sexually abusing children as young as six, was described in 2000 as a “high risk” and a “danger to young girls” when he was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting an 11-year-old and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

However, he also has previous court appearances dating back to 1983 and 1990 when he sexually molested a 12-year-old girl and a girl of seven during his work as a gardener.

March 2012

Paedophile in sex offenders’ order breach

A “high risk” paedophile, who travelled across Northern Ireland to go swimming and “leer at children” in the swimming pool of a Co Antrim holiday resort, has been put on three years’ probation to protect the public

Antrim Crown Court Judge Corinne Philpott QC told the 63-year-old Robert John Liddle that any jail sentence she could impose would not be long enough.

Liddle of Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, was spotted by the poolside of the Silver Cliffs Holiday Village at Clare Road, Ballycastle on 29 July last year by a holiday maker from his home county of Fermanagh who reported her sighting.

Liddle admitted going to the holiday park “which afforded him access to a child or young person”, in breach of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), where he should first have obtained “consent from his designated risk manager” before making the unauthorised trip.

Judge Philpott told Liddle that the three-year probation order, during which he will undergo an intensive sex offenders’ programme including one to one supervision, was the best way “to keep the public safe”.

“When I say, the public, I mean young children and I also mean you, from committing further offences”.

Judge Philpott told Liddle given his “problem with sexual orientation, and fondness for children” it was in no-one’s interests, including his own, that he be allowed to be in a position where he could “engage with young children”.

Earlier, Judge Philpott said that “Liddle is going to have to understand that he needs assistance to stop himself, to stop him putting himself in situations of risk.

“That is what the SOPO is for, to stop himself putting himself at risk of being in the company of children, to stop him re-offending”.

Judge Philpott accepted that on this occasion Liddle had not harmed any child, but had “put himself in a situation where he could leer at children … that’s what he has done and given the opportunity he may have done something else, but he did not have the opportunity”.

The judge added later that Liddle had to “understand clearly his behaviour in relation to going swimming, although he did not touch anyone, was inappropriate behaviour for him.”

Liddle, who has convictions for sexually abusing children as young as six, was described in 2000 as a “high risk” and a “danger to young girls”

He was jailed then for two years for indecently assaulting an 11-year-old and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years. However, he also has previous court appearances dating back to 1983 and 1990.

Under the terms of the Register, Liddle had to inform police of his movements, including when he proposed going on holiday and to where.

However, when in November 2009, the restrictions under the Register lapsed, worried police, anxious to have some other method of keeping an eye on him applied for the SOPO.

Initially, an interim order was imposed by Fermanagh Magistrates’ Court on the retired lorry driver.

However, in March 2010, District Judge Bernadette Kelly granted a full five-year order after a police inspector claimed: “The difficulty is, this man is using public transport every day, travelling throughout Ireland.

“Nobody knows him or the dangers posed by him.”

February 2011

Paedophile’s diary used in court evidence

Devious child molester Robert Liddle has been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for three years, for breaching a SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order).

The Order is designed to “protect the public from serious harm” from the convicted paedophile.

Liddle, from Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, appeared at Fermanagh Court and admitted breaching the Order on two occasions.

The 62-year-old has convictions for sexually abusing children as young as six and in the year 2000 was described as a “high risk” and a “danger to young girls” when he was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting an 11-year-old. At the time he was working as a gardener and offered the girl a ride on his ride-on mower. He asked her if she had tickles and used it as an excuse to put his hand under her T-shirt and touch her breasts.

At the time he was already a convicted child molester with previous court appearances in 1983 and 1990. On one occasion while working as a gardener he asked a 12-year-old girl if she wanted to help and, while her father was away, touched her clothing and underwear. On another occasion a seven-year-old was in a boat with other children at a holiday centre when Liddle approached her and touched her privates.

In 1999 he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years, giving the police a means of monitoring his movements, but that period ended in November 2009 and the PSNI was anxious to have some other method of keeping an eye on him and applied for a SOPO.

They had already become concerned about his behaviour after a police officer assigned as his risk manager visited Liddle’s home and found a number of items including pornographic DVDs, children’s underwear and cuddly toys.

In light of the findings the police went to court and obtained a SOPO.

A prosecutor explained that the SOPO was granted on March 4, last year, and remains in force until March 5, 2015.

It bans Liddle from having children’s clothing or toys and from loitering near schools, youth clubs and other places where children congregate. It also bans him from leaving Northern Ireland without informing his risk manager.

The prosecutor said the conditions of the Order were explained to Liddle and he was told that even if the went down to the Border for diesel for his vehicle he had to inform his risk manager.

The court heard that Liddle was required to keep a diary and when the risk manager inspected it last November he noticed two entries indicating that Liddle had travelled to Dublin on October 20, and to Tipperary the October 21.

Liddle was arrested for breaching the Order. He told his risk manager: “I forgot to ring you. I just went for the run and back up again.”

The prosecutor said no complaint was made about Liddle.

District Judge Liam McNally asked if any check was carried out with the man with whom Liddle travelled to Dublin and Tipperary.

The prosecutor said police had spoken to the man, who confirmed Liddle had travelled with him on both occasions. The man said he was not aware of the SOPO.

Defence barrister, Miss Heather Philips, said these were “spontaneous, unplanned trips”. Liddle was simply sitting in the house when the man called and asked him if he wanted to go for the run.

She said that on the trip to Dublin they only stopped to get fish and chips on the way back and the trip to Tipperary was to delivery a part for a vehicle.

Miss Philips said although there is a SOPO in force Liddle has not committed an offence since the year 2000.

The District Judge said it was a very serious offence to breach any court order but particularly a SOPO. He pointed out that Liddle had convictions in 1983, 1990 and 2000 that qualified him for the Order.

He told Liddle the Order was made “to try and put some external controls on your movement and what you were doing so that the risk posed by you could be managed and to protect the public from any further harm from you”.

He accepted that the offences came to light because Liddle was “religiously” keeping a diary and at least that brought the breaches of the Order to the attention of his risk manager.

The District Judge also said he was satisfied that Liddle had not made the trips to Dublin and Tipperary for any “serious purposes” and the public was not at risk of harm.

March 2010

A “devious” paedophile has tried to prevent police being given powers aimed at stopping him from sexually abusing children.

Robert Liddle, of Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, appeared at Fermanagh Court and objected to being made the subject of a SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) designed to “protect the public from serious harm”.

The 61-year-old retired lorry driver, who now has a bus pass which he uses on a daily basis to travel around the country, objected to being banned from being at bus stops during the two peak hours of the day when they are used by children going to and coming from school.

District Judge Bernadette Kelly said: “I would be concerned that the only reason he wants to be around a bus station during those two hours is so he can be in the company of children.”

Liddle also objected to having to request police permission to move house.

The District Judge said that if he moved to somewhere there were children “somebody will drop the hint and before you know it there will be two or three able-bodied men with baseball bats knocking on his door”.

She said that if he preferred to move to where he wanted and run the risk of vigilantes burning him in his bed some night that was up to him but in consideration of his right to life under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act she ordered that he gives police seven days notice if he intends to move home and take advice from them about his personal safety.

Liddle has convictions for sexually abusing children as young as six and in 2000 was described as a “high risk” and a “danger to young girls” when he was jailed for two years for indecently assaulting an 11-year-old. At the time he was working as a gardener and offered the girl a ride on his ride-on mower. He asked her if she had tickles and used it as an excuse to put his hand under her T-shirt and touch her breasts.

At the time he was already a convicted child molester with court appearances in 1983 and 1990. On one occasion while working as a gardener he asked a 12-year-old girl if she wanted to help and, while her father was away, touched her clothing and underwear. On another occasion a seven-year-old was in a boat with other children at the Share holiday centre near Lisnaskea when Liddle approached her and touched her privates.

In 1999 he was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years, giving the PSNI a means of monitoring his movements, but that period elapsed last November and police were anxious to have some other method of keeping an eye on him and applied for a SOPO.

They had already become concerned about his behaviour after an officer from their Public Protection Unit assigned to manage registered sex offenders visited Liddle’s home last February 24, to carry out a risk assessment.

According to the application for the SOPO the officer found a number of pornographic DVDs, including three with covers showing young girls exposing their breasts. The theme of the DVDs was “uncle or auntie having sex with their schoolgirl niece”, although police accepted there was no evidence that the actors were under-age.

At the bottom of Liddle’s bed the officer found “numerous women’s knickers, along with five sets of children’s knickers and baby socks, cuddly toys and various other pornographic literature”.

The officer said Liddle told him he would masturbate into the women’s knickers and then dump them.

In light of their findings the police went to court and last May were granted an interim SOPO which among other things banned Liddle from activities involving children without the permission of a designated police officer or enticing children into a vehicle.

He objected to the granting of a full SOPO and the case came to court last week.

Liddle’s barrister, Miss Heather Phillips, argued that he was entitled to his human rights and that any restrictions placed upon him should be “necessary and proportionate” and that any risk should be “real” and not hypothetical.

The District Judge pointed out that he was single and had no children and asked why he had baby’s clothing in his bedroom.

“Is that not real,” she asked.

She said she thought it was “very necessary” that Liddle be banned from having children’s clothing or toys as his previous offences involved befriending children “and what better way to do that than with toys?”

She said he should also be prohibited from having any pornographic material featuring or implying that the participants were under-18, such as girls in school uniform.

“He can limit himself to adult pornography,” she stated.

Liddle also objected to police being given the power to enter and check his home. The police inspector seeking the SOPO said that if an officer called at the house and Liddle refused him entry, by the time the officer went and got a search warrant and returned to the property, anything that was there would be gone.

Miss Phillips argued that such a power of entry would “give police carte blanch to do what they wanted” and that Liddle was entitled to his human rights.

“This man hasn’t committed a criminal offence in 10 years,” she stated.

The District Judge said a SOPO was a way of “trying to keep an eye on him and protect potential victims” and suggested he attended for risk assessment.

The police inspector argued that Liddle was devious.

The District Judge replied: “Of course he is devious, he has done this to children.”

The inspector said that outside of Fermanagh “nobody knows him or is aware of the dangers posed by him”. The difficulty was that he was using public transport every day to travel throughout Ireland and the police needed to know where he was going.

The District Judge urged the inspector and Miss Phillips to “work out a system whereby we can protect the children of Northern Ireland”.

After a short adjournment the inspector and Miss Phillips returned to the court with the proposed wording for an amended SOPO.

Miss Phillips said that when Liddle caught the 6.25am bus to Belfast he arrived at 8.25am and that was inside the hour the bus station was busy with children going to school.

The District Judge said she was becoming “increasingly concerned” that he wanted to be there during that time because “he wants to be in the company of children”. She also raised the issue of Liddle sitting beside a child on a bus.

Eventually agreement was reached on the terms of the SOPO.

The order, which remains in force for five years, prohibits Liddle from loitering at or within 50 metres of any school, youth club, play grounds or bus stop between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 4pm.

He is not allowed to take part in any activity that gives him access to a child or young person without first obtaining consent from a designated Risk Manager.

He is banned from having any children’s clothing or toys or any pornographic material which displays or implies that the participants are under the age of 18 years of age.

He is not allowed or incite a child or young person to be in a motor vehicle in which he is travelling.

He must notify the designated Risk Manager at least 7 days in advance, of a change in his place of residence, with the exception of an emergency, and take any advice offered.

If he works as a lorry driver he must provide the Risk Manager with a schedule of proposed routes on the island of Ireland and notify him if he intends to leave the country.

If Liddle breaches any of the conditions of the SOPO he can be jailed for up to five years.

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