Former teacher jailed for trying to abduct girl in Holywell
Mar 12 2009 by Our Correspondent, Western Mail
A FORMER teacher, businessman and senior Jehovah’s Witness who tried to abduct a five-year-old was yesterday jailed for six years.
Robert Edward Bill, 54, was told by a judge that he was still in denial about his predatory interest in young children despite a series of convictions.
He has been found guilty at separate trials of the attempted abduction of the girl in Holywell two years ago, of indecently assaulting a seven-year-old 10 years ago, and of possessing 730 pornographic images of children.
Prosecuting at Caernarfon Crown Court, Simon Medland described how the girl had been returning home from a playground when Bill, “for malign purposes”, drew up in his car and asked: “Have you seen a cat?”
By chance the girl’s uncle arrived at the scene at that moment and her mother, who had been watching from a window, ran to her.
Mr Medland said Bill of The Roe, St Asaph, Denbighshire, had been driving slowly around areas where he was likely to come into contact with children that same day. He’d claimed that he was trying to fix a mechanical problem with his car.
A police inquiry had revealed the car had also been driven in an “odd manner” at Flint that day, stopping when children came into view.
Mr Medland said that when Bill had a playground equipment company he had been warned off a Towyn holiday park by police after officials there became concerned about his conduct with children.
The barrister said the indecent assault had occurred at St Asaph. Although the girl had recalled seeing a camera there was no evidence it had been used.
David Potter, defending, pointed out the offences did not involve touching, grabbing or coercion.
He said Bill had hoped to return to teaching, but this would now be impossible.
Bill had also run two successful businesses in the past, but his last one had now been effectively wound up. He was a family man, a grandfather described as being devoted to his wife of 30 years.
Since his arrest in June 2007, Mr Potter said Bill had had a torrid time. He accepted the need for his behaviour to be monitored in future and that his actions had brought fear and suspicion for his family and church, while the nightmare of his arrest would be a constant reminder that his life would never be the same.
Judge Philip Hughes imposed a four-year sentence for attempted abduction, one-and-a-half years for indecent assault and six months for possessing the pornographic images most of which, he said, were of the lowest category.
He said: “The nature of your offending demonstrates you have an unhealthy sexual and predatory interest in young children which, despite your convictions, you continue to deny.”
Bill, who has been in custody for nearly 18 months, will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years and a Sexual Offences Prevention Order was made which limits any contact with children.
Bill, in a neat grey suit and tie, had wept during part of the evidence. As he left the dock to begin his sentence, he embraced his son and kissed his wife as he passed behind where they sat awaiting their sentences.
Jacqueline Bill, his 51-year-old wife, received a suspended six-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to trying to pervert the course of justice by destroying a laptop hard drive, and must do 250 hours unpaid work.
Bill’s son David, 24, of Mount Road, St Asaph, must do 150 hours unpaid work after also admitting that he tried to pervert the course of justice.
Judge Hughes told them: “I recognise that you were both in a misguided way trying to protect a husband and father.”