Suspended sentence for child abuser Robert John Liddle

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A convicted child abuser who was caught looking up the skirts of schoolgirls in a busy Belfast supermarket was handed a suspended sentence after appearing in court on Thursday.

Robert John Liddle, from Moorlough Road in Lisnaskea, admitted committing an act of a “lewd, obscene and disgusting nature and outraging public decency” on February 25 last year.

He appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court on the single charge five months ago, when his sentence was deferred by Judge Gordon Kerr QC. Sentence was deferred to allow Liddle to continue with a treatment programme designed to address his deviant behaviour and offending.

The 66-year old - who has been described in the past as a “high risk” offender and who has convictions for abusing children - was told five months ago that if he completed the probation programme, he would be given a suspended sentence for the incident involving the schoolgirls.

The pensioner was also warned that if he failed to comply with the programme, or committed any further offending within the five month deferral period, he would be sent to jail.

During the previous hearing at Downpatrick, a prosecutor told the court that Liddle’s behaviour at the Tesco store in the Newtownbreda area of south Belfast roused the suspicions of security staff.

He was observed tracking a group of schoolgirls who walked past him in their uniforms. Liddle was captured on CCTV trying to look up the skirts of two of the teenagers as they walked up a flight of stairs.

The supermarket’s security staff alerted police and Liddle was arrested.

He appeared in Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, on Thursday for sentencing on a charge of outraging public decency.

After hearing that since sentence was deferred five months ago Liddle has “abided by the terms” proposed at the last hearing, Judge Kerr was also told there has been “no further offending.”

The judge then handed Liddle a two-month sentence, which was suspended for two years, and warned him of the consequences of further offending.