Businessman guilty of molesting girls and exposing himself to children at his office
Paedophile Robert Darby claimed he only dropped his trousers after wetting himself
Robert Darby, 57, found guilty of molesting girls and exposing himself to children at his office.
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, formerly of Liverpool Road, Southport, 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”.
Gerald Baxter, prosecuting, said the first complaint against Darby was made by a woman in October 2015.
The woman said she visited his home as a child, when he told her to come upstairs and collect a “fart machine” 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 when she stayed at his house, he put her in his bed with his sleeping wife Debbie, and pressed against her buttocks.
When arrested by police, Darby said nothing ever happened, but his wife may have invited the girl into their bed if she was distressed.
A second woman told officers Darby had lifted her nightie up – so she was just in her underwear – and made her lie across his lap.
A third woman told police he made her take a bath in front of him, despite her protests and the intervention of Darby’s wife.
A fourth woman alleged Darby asked her to help him with hypnotism and told her to come to his bedroom.
She said she found him naked, kneeling on the bed and performing a sex act, but he was cleared of this offence.
Mr Baxter said a little girl walked past a glass door at Total Gas Safety in February 2015 and spotted a labrador.
She caught up with her friend’s mum and said she saw a man’s private parts and 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.
Police viewed the shop’s CCTV footage, which showed Darby arriving before the children approached the office.
When arrested for exposure, Darby said: “Absolutely not, I’m just in shock” and explained he had bladder problems.
He said he had spinal operations and struggled passing water and rolled up his trouser leg due to a cut to his knee.
Darby initially denied pulling down his pants, but in a second interview admitted removing his trousers.
He told the jury he had suffered leakage and cut his knee on a brick while out working, before returning to the office.
Darby said he was sitting at his desk when he removed his trousers and “took my underpants off because I knew they were wet”.
Neil Gunn, defending, asked why he hadn’t gone to the toilet, to which he replied: “There was no thought process, the whole thing took seconds.”