A CONVICTED sex offender has been denied bail after he was reportedly eating ice-cream near a play park and watching children swim at Castle Archdale at the weekend.
On Saturday police received reports 70-year-old Robert Liddle, from the Moorlough Road, Lisnaskea, was at the popular country park. Liddle, a convicted paedophile, is currently the subject of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO), which prevents him being within 30m of somewhere intended for children’s play or education.
It was reported Liddle was at Castle Archdale between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday, and police received sighting reports of him being near the play area, the marina, and the caravan site that is popular with families.
The court was told Liddle was seen watching a group of seven children aged between 7-16-years-old, who were swimming in the water very close to him.
He was also reportedly seen sitting on a bench eating an ice-cream close to the play area. In addition, he is alleged to have spoken to the mother of a teenage girl.
Upon receiving the reports, police arrested Liddle at his home at around 6pm on Saturday. He admitted to police he’d been at Castle Archdale, and said he was there looking at vintage cars.
It was confirmed in court there had been a classic car show on at Castle Archdale on Saturday.
Liddle said he’d seen the group of seven children, in wet suits , but denied watching them. He denied seeing any children at the caravan park when speaking with police.
In court on Monday police objected to bail due to concerns he would reoffend. Defence solicitor Grainne Mulligan said these fears could be allayed by releasing Liddle with strict bail conditions.
Ms Mulligan said Liddle, who she pointed out had previously not come to police attention since February last year, had never failed to turn up to court, and said he could be released if he was subject to strict reporting conditions.
A police officer said Liddle was already subject to the SOPO, and had breached it several times over the years.
District Judge Michael Ranaghan said orders such as the SOPO were there to protect young children, and said he did not think any bail condition he could impose that would offer further protection. He denied Liddle bail and adjourned the case to Dungannon Crown Court on July 6th.