March 2022

Paedophile threatened girl if she spoke up her dad would be jailed

The dark past of a former primary school and college caretaker was exposed in court.

Robert Jones, now 70, was a caretaker at Sudley Junior School in Aigburth in the early 1970s. While working at the school the then 20-year-old exposed himself to two little girls in the toilets.

But he went on to get a job at Liverpool Polytechnic, which later became Liverpool John Moores University. During this period he subjected a little girl to depraved sexual abuse, which has only now come to light.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Jones even threatened the child that if she told her dad, her dad would “batter” him, and it would be her dad – not him – who went to prison. Prosecutors said the woman came forward to the police in 2018, after years of living with the effects of the abuse, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jones, of Hardie Avenue, Moreton, Wirral, denied any wrongdoing, which forced his victim to give evidence in a harrowing trial. He was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child, in relation to the now adult victim.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting, told the jury Jones began abusing the girl when she was aged just six, by touching her genital area. The trial heard he performed a sex act in front of her on several occasions and once told her to do the same to him, which she did.

Ms Holt said he took her out in a car to a country lane close to Speke Airport, where she could watch the planes taking off. But while there, he exposed himself to her, told her to touch him and “said he would buy her things if she did”.

The court heard the girl knew she didn’t want to do it, but described how he made her perform a sex act, as he had done previously. Jones lowered his trousers and rubbed himself against the girl when she was clothed on another occasion, when she was aged nine or 10.

Ms Holt said when the girl was around that age, Jones asked if he could touch her breasts and told her “it would make them grow bigger”. The victim described another time when she was around nine when he touched her genital area over clothing under the pretence of a game.

The court heard as the victim grew older she “knew it had to stop” and once said she would tell her dad. Ms Holt said Jones told the girl that if he found out, her dad would “batter” him, and then her dad would go to jail

She said the child later “started to stand up” to Jones, told him “no” and refused his offers of gifts. Yet the court heard the victim “never got over her feelings of anger” towards Jones and his behaviour “had a profound effect upon her”.

When interviewed by police, Jones denied ever sexually abusing the girl, accused her of lying, and denied having a sexual interest in children. He maintained this stance at trial, when he told the court he didn’t have any previous convictions, except for an old driving offence.

This was supported by a police print out of his criminal record, which led to Judge Anil Murray telling the jury he was effectively of good character. However, ahead of sentencing Jones spoke to the Probation Service for a pre-sentence report and it emerged he in fact had a conviction from July 1972, which had been missed off the end of the print out.

That was for indecent exposure with intent to insult a female, under the Vagrancy Act. Further enquiries made by the prosecution revealed that at the time he had been working as a caretaker at Sudley Junior School in Aigburth Road, where it was said he had gone into a toilet while two six-year-old children were present and exposed himself.

Judge Murray jailed Jones for five years. He told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.

Jones was also accused by two other women of sexually abusing them when they were children in the 1970s and 1980s. But the jury couldn’t reach verdicts in respect of those allegations, which prosecutors asked to be left to lie on the file at the conclusion of the trial.