Robert Darby – of Scarisbrick

A woman sexually abused as a child by disgraced businessman Robert Darby described how his sick crimes left her unable to trust men.

The 57-year-old, who owns Total Gas Safety in Ainsdale, Southport, sexually abused three youngsters in the 1990s and 2000s.

His victims came forward after the “pillar of the community” exposed himself to three children at his Segars Lane office in 2015.

The dad-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”.

But a judge said they were “vindicated” and Darby “discredited” after he was found guilty of nine sexual offences and jailed for 25 months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how one woman revealed she visited his home as a child, when he told her to come upstairs to collect a toy.

She recalled finding Darby lying on his bed naked except for a pair of 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, then pressed against her buttocks until he became aroused.

Today she told the court how as a result, “I started to assume that all men were like Rob and I didn’t like or trust them”.

Robert Darby, 57, of Dam Wood Lane, Scarisbrick, jailed for 25 months after he was found guilty of nine sexual offences involving young girls. 

The victim said she tried to block out what had happened, so she didn’t have to deal with how bad it made her feel.

She said: “Since my childhood I’ve continued to be funny around men.

“I will avoid male staff in a shop until I find a female. If I see a man on a night out I automatically think ‘he’s a pervert’.

“I know it’s wrong to think like this, but I can’t help it.”

The woman said she struggled to be intimate with anyone and was only recently able to have a boyfriend for the first time.

And she told the court that having to give evidence at Darby’s trial left her stressed and upset.

The victim said: “I had managed to block everything out and not deal with it, but since reporting it to the police I think about it a lot.

“I felt really depressed thinking about it. It made me feel sick.”

When she found out Darby had hurt other children, the woman felt even worse.

She said: “It’s disgusting that he could actually sexually assault children.

“On the one hand I actually feel sorry for Rob that he does what he does, but on the other I feel hatred for what he did to me.”

The boiler repair man, formerly of Liverpool Road, Southport, was convicted following a 10-day trial, but still maintains his innocence.

Darby, of Dam Wood Lane, Scarisbrick, made one child take a bath in front of him, despite her protests and the intervention of his wife.

She told the court that having to give evidence against her abuser was “extremely stressful”.

The woman said: “On the date itself I felt like I was having a panic attack and couldn’t control my breathing.

“Overall it was a really horrible experience. I felt sick all day.”

Three little girls walking past Darby’s office in February 2015 went to see a labrador in the window but were confronted by semi-naked Darby.

He said spinal operations left him with bladder problems and he removed his trousers because he had suffered “leakage” and cut his knee.

Judge Elizabeth Nicholls said: “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.”

She told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/victim-sexually-abused-disgraced-businessman-13335574.amp

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