Pervert claims pool assault was a joke

Queens Park Health & Fitness, Boundary Road, St Helens
Queens Park Health & Fitness, Boundary Road, St Helens
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A SWIMMER who sexually assaulted a teenage girl in a busy St Helens pool escaped jail after claiming he was gay.

William Kirby, 36, admitted dunking a girl’s head towards his groin at St Helens Magistrates Court, before Christmas, but was only sentenced at Liverpool crown Court yesterday because of delays preparing a psychiatric report.

In a statement, the distressed victim, who was 17 at the time of the incident but has now turned 18, said she now struggles to sleep, never goes out on her own and has been prescribed anti-depressants.

Kirby, who told the victim he as a police officer in a bid to gain her trust, was described by the victim’s grandmother as “a sexual predator who lured my granddaughter into a trap”

The victim ran out of the courtroom and was visably upset when it emerged Kirby would not receive a prison sentence.

Derek Jones, prosecuting, told how the incident unfolded on the evening of July 6 last year at the Queens Park Health and Fitness centre, on Boundary Road. At about 6.30pm the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, engaged in a conversation with Kirby in the sauna.

The defendant then suggested that she perform a sex act on him before following her to the side of the pool at squirting water at her from a plastic bottle.

He then asked her if she could touch the bottom of the pool before forcing the teen’s head towards his groin and lifting his right knee, “as if to guide her”.

Police launched an investigation after the victim confided in her mother that evening. And the leisure centre’s manager told detectives how Kirby, a former gym member , had changed his name several times on their system after claiming that his father was a famous celebrity who was being hounded by the press.

In a police interview Kirby, of Croppers Hill Court, Prescot Road, initially gave an alternative name - Jordan Scott Michael - and claimed the incident was “a joke”.

The court also heard how the defendant had a previous conviction for indecent assault on another young woman on his record as well as more recent convictions for drug possession and impersonating a police officer.

Tom Watson, defending, admitted that the court would find it “a worrying case”. But he argued that a short jail sentence would do little to address the “very significant problems” in his client’s life.

Ordering Kirby to attend a three year Sex Offenders Programme, Judge John Phipps told the defendant: “A principle objective is to ensure that you do not subject another young woman to the stresses which this victim has suffered.”

As part of a 10 year Sexual Offences Prevention Order Kirby was also told to keep the police notified of his address and not to go swimming when under 18s are present or to approach the victim.