Sex attacker wore women’s underwear and wrote fantasy incest stories

The site of the former public toilets in Burn Valley Gardens at the junction of Stockton Road, Blakelock Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
The site of the former public toilets in Burn Valley Gardens at the junction of Stockton Road, Blakelock Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

A 71-year-old man who ‘has always worn women’s underwear’ admitted two charges of indecent assault of a child minutes before he was due to give evidence in his defence.

Robert Black still faces four other child abuse charges, all of which he denies, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Black made his admission at the close of the prosecution case against himself and four other Hartlepool men.

William Byrne, defending Black, asked him why he had changed his plea to guilty.

“It was after I heard the prosecution case in relation to that victim,” Black told the jury.

“My memory comes and goes, I forget names, and it was a long time ago.

“Back then I would sometimes go to toilets looking for men, or maybe to the dunes at Seaton Carew.

“When the victim gave evidence he said he was 14 or 15 years, I accept that.”

The victim of the charges to which Black pleaded guilty said he regularly went to the Burn Valley Gardens toilets in Hartlepool as a young teenager.

He said he willingly engaged in sexual activity with Black, and bore him no malice for what had happened.

Inviting the jury to find Black guilty of the two charges he admitted, Judge Howard Crowson said: “There can be no stronger evidence of guilt than a defendant’s admission.”

The jury foreman returned two guilty verdicts.

The charges which Black continues to deny all relate to another young victim.

Black told the court he had had sexual activity with him, but it was when both were adults.

“I got to know him when he was in his 30s,” Black said. “He was friendly with a friend of mine, who is now dead.

“We arranged to meet in Hartlepool, and went to a railway signal box, where we had sexual activity.

“That happened twice in the space of a few weeks.

“I didn’t see him again until many years later when I was walking my dog on the Headland.”

When Black was arrested, he was found to be wearing women’s underwear, and police also found explicit stories about incest written under the pen name ‘Lisa’.

“I’ve always worn women’s underwear,” said Black, “I would describe myself as bisexual, and I have used the name Lisa.

“Those stories were just fantasy, I wouldn’t have acted them out.”

The court heard Black was convicted of possessing indecent images of children in 2015, for which he was jailed for two years.

He was convicted of importuning for an immoral purpose outside the Burn Valley toilets in 1974, for which he was fined £10.

Black is one of five men from Hartlepool standing trial for a string of historical sex offences.

The case, which started last week, continues.

Robert Black is on trial with four other men who face a total of 17 child abuse charges against three alleged victims.

Black, 71, of Derwent Grange, Hartlepool, is on trial with four other men.

Geoff Hillier, 72, of Haswell Avenue, Hartlepool, denies two charges of indecent assault, and two serious sexual offences.

Alan Edmenson, 66, of Ibrox Grove, Hartlepool, denies one charge of indecent assault.

Joseph Brown, 81, of Front Street, Hart, denies one charge of indecent assault.

Peter Watts, 72, of Oxford Road, Hartlepool, denies five charges of indecent assault.

The court has heard that all of the offences are alleged to have taken place in the late 1970s and 1980s.