Paedophile business owner shows ‘no remorse’ as he’s jailed for 25 months
A predatory Southport business owner who abused three children and exposed himself to little girls who went to look at a puppy in his office window has been jailed.
“Pillar of the community” Robert Darby committed his sickening crimes against minors over three decades without being caught.
But today justice finally caught up with him as a judge at Liverpool Crown Court handed down a prison sentence for 25 months.
Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said the girl victims were “vindicated” and Darby “discredited” after he was found guilty of a total of nine sexual offences.
She told Darby, who owns Total Gas Safety in Ainsdale im Southport: “All of this was conducted under the veneer of respectability.
“You were regarded as a pillar of the community and a man involved in the church and community projects.
“Your defence throughout this trial was particularly unattractive. You sought to discredit all the witnesses.
“You suggested this was a witch hunt against you pursued by an over-zealous police officer. It was even suggested the police officer was dishonest.
“What the trial has demonstrated is you have absolutely no remorse for your conduct.
“Nor do you have a willingness or ability to accept the harm you have caused both to your immediate victims and also to those close to you.”
Darby’s victims came forward after the 57-year-old was arrested for flashing three children at his office on Segars Lane in Ainsdale office in 2015.
The father-of-three denied the allegations and claimed he only dropped his trousers at work because he had cut his knee and wet himself.
The unrepentant paedophile accused his older victims of lying and even suggested he was the target of a police-backed “witch hunt”.
The boiler repair man, of Dam Wood Lane, Scarisbrick, was convicted following a 10-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
Darby, formerly of Liverpool Road, Ainsdale, Southport, was cleared of abusing a fourth girl and downloading indecent images of children.
Gerald Baxter, prosecuting, said a little girl walked past Total Gas Safety in February 2015 and spotted the labrador.
She caught up with her friend’s mum and said she saw a man’s private parts and that he had “pulled down his pants and undies”.
Two more little girls walked past and saw the puppy, before also complaining that a man had exposed himself.
Darby said spinal operations left him with bladder problems and he had suffered “leakage” and cut his knee at work.
He said he was sitting at his desk when he removed his trousers and “took my underpants off because I knew they were wet”.
In October 2015 a woman told police she visited his home as a child, when he told her to come upstairs to collect a toy.
She recalled finding him lying on his bed wearing only headphones, with his eyes closed and performing a sex act.
The woman said once he put her in his bed with his sleeping wife Debbie and pressed against her buttocks.
A second woman told officers that Darby lifted her nightie up and made her lie across his lap.
A third woman said he made her take a bath in front of him, despite her protests and the intervention of his wife.
Neil Gunn, defending, urged the judge to hand the “extremely successful” businessman a suspended sentence.
He said: “The defendant maintains his innocence. He has found it difficult to accept the jury’s verdict.
“It’s been particularly difficult not just for him, but more so he would say for his family to accept.”
Mr Gunn said he was of previous good character and his “exemplary conduct” included extensive charity work, but his reputation was now ruined.
He said Darby was not a “broken man”, but added: “Life for Robert Darby will never be the same. He has almost hit rock bottom.”
“He was and is a well-known figure around Southport. Some may describe him as a high profile figure.”
Judge Nicholls said Darby often carried out his crimes in a way so there “could be some form of plausible explanation”.
She said the older victims were left blaming themselves, feeling uncomfortable and thinking there was nothing they could do.
The judge said: “It is the collective impact of your offending over a period of years that demands an immediate term of imprisonment.”
Darby stared at some of his sobbing victims as he was sent down, before waving at his crying family sitting in the public gallery.
Judge Nicholls told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.
Businessman guilty of molesting girls
A Merseyside businessman was today found guilty of molesting three girls and exposing himself to children walking past his office.
Robert Darby, 57, who owns Total Gas Safety in Ainsdale, Southport, was alleged to have abused four youngsters in the 1990s and 2000s.
He was also accused of exposing himself to three children, who went to look at a puppy in the window of his Segars Lane office, in 2015.
The married dad-of-three told the jury the sexual abuse allegations were false and he only dropped his trousers because he had cut his knee and wet himself.
But prosecutors said the allegations from seven children demonstrated “a pattern of behaviour”, which was “namely his sexual interest in children”.
The boiler repair man was further alleged to have downloaded six indecent images of children.
Darby, of Dam Wood Lane, Scarisbrick, was cleared of that charge mid-trial and denied 10 sexual offences at Liverpool Crown Court.
He showed no emotion when a jury found him guilty of nine of the charges after a 10-day trial and more than nine hours of deliberation.
Judge Elizabeth Nicholls adjourned sentencing until July 14 and remanded the paedophile on bail, telling him “all options remained open”.