Colin Roberts of the Wirral ‘routinely’ looked through the window of the two women and returned several times. He was caught after one of victims examined their CCTV
A woman watching TV in the nude with her wife noticed terrifying silhouette in the window.
Colin Roberts admitted he got ‘enjoyment’ from peering through the pair’s home while on evening walks. The court heard the two women often sat in the nude or wearing just underwear. Roberts was finally caught after his silhouette was spotted at the window by one of the pair who examined their CCTV. Previous footage revealed the 74-year-old had been back doing the same thing eight times in the past month.
Roberts, from The Wirral said he ‘routinely’ looked through their window over a few months. He said: “They were not just in their underwear, they were naked. It has been a long time since I have seen a young lady like that.” The Manchester Evening News reports the women were left distressed after the incidents. Roberts is now planning to move away from the area.
Matthew Dixon, prosecuting, said: “The offence took place in September 6 of last year. The victim was relaxing in the living room of her property in her underwear with her wife. At approximately 10.25pm the victim noticed a silhouette of a man in a panel of the front door window which looks into the living room. That prompted her to look at her CCTV which monitors the front of the property.
“The defendant was seen to walk up to the address, look around the street to see if anyone was around, then he stepped up to the front door and peered for around one minute. He then carried on walking down the street. The CCTV stores footage for the past 30 days. She had cause to go back and check across that period of time. He walks up and looks through her door on some eight occasions. That pattern of behaviour caused her to feel harassed, alarmed or distressed.”
Mr Dixon said Roberts was traced from the CCTV footage and interviewed by police on September 13. He added: “He was given the dates and asked if it was a regular occurrence and he said ‘yes’. He was asked whether it was part of his normal routine, he said ‘yes’, he had always done it. He was asked how long he had been doing it for and he said ‘about a couple of months.’
“He was asked why he did it and he laughed ‘because they are naked, they were not just in their underwear, they were naked’. He was asked ‘did you enjoy it?’ and he said ‘it has been a long time since I have seen a young lady like that’.
Defending, Kirsty Ruddin said: “There was flawed thinking and he made a foolish decision. When interviewed by police he was very candid. He went so far as to tell police he had been doing that. There had been some problems with his own relationship. When interviewed by the probation service about these offences the defendant did state that he was struggling to distance himself from the location and the probation officer obviously challenged him why he had not walked a different way. He looked into the property rather than step away.
“It was all too easy to look in. In hindsight he knows that he ought not have done and he has had time to reflect on this. He has now taken steps that show how much remorse this defendant has in relation to his actions and his behaviour and the impact on the complainants. He is aiming to leave that area and have a quieter future and not being reminded of the incident.
“He is leaving behind a lot of close friends, it was not an easy decision to make. He has nevertheless made that decision. I hope that the court will take it on board his efforts to make reparations for what he has done. There is a letter from his partner which seeks to explain the struggles that she has gone through as a result of this. There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. He has cooperated with the probation service. He has complied well with any supervision he has been put on. His risk of reoffending in the future is assessed as very low.”
Roberts pleaded guilty to observing a person doing a private act and harassment between August 14 and September 6 of last year. He was sentenced to four weeks in custody, which was suspended for 12 months.
Sentencing, JP Robert Perry said: “This matter quite clearly crosses the custody threshold because one offence aggravates the other such that the harassment showed a repetition in the offences and these offences quite clearly had a serious impact on the complainants. This was quite clearly a course of behaviour at night time which caused considerable distress.”
Roberts was also ordered to complete 25 rehabilitation activity days with the probation service and must pay each of the victims £500 in compensation. He will sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years and was banned from contacting the couple for a year under a restraining order.