A convicted paedophile, locked up after refusing to tell police where he was living, has failed to clear his name - but has been told by top judges he may be able to challenge his jail term.
Kenneth Trotter was deported to the UK from Australia in May last year after serving a substantial prison sentence for a number of sex offences against young boys.
The 78-year-old, of no fixed address, moved to Blackpool and was ordered to tell police where he was living. However, he then moved twice between hotels in the seaside town without notifying them.
He was jailed for three years at Preston Crown Court in January, after being found guilty of two counts of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) that had been made by Blackpool magistrates upon his return to the UK.
Trotter challenged his convictions at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, arguing they were ‘unsafe’ because the trial judge misdirected the jury.
His appeal bid was rejected by two of the country’s top judges, who said the evidence against him was ‘overwhelming’ and his convictions ‘safe’.
However, the judges said Trotter may have a valid appeal against his sentence, because he was not represented by lawyers in the crown court and had never served a jail term in the UK before.
They suggested he should seek legal advice.
Trotter, who left the UK in the 1950s, was ordered back to England by a judge in Melbourne after he was jailed for 12 years in 1994 for abusing youngsters at his flat.
When he returned to the UK last year, he settled in Blackpool, where he was monitored by police and handed the SOPO which banned him from moving anywhere without getting permission.
However, just two days after the order was imposed, he booked into a hotel in Blackpool without notifying police. He then moved on to a guest house.
Trotter said it was ‘impossible’ to comply with the order and that he believed he had a ‘reasonable’ excuse for moving without notice because he was just waiting for a permanent home to become available.
The court heard he agreed he had said he would never tell police where he was living, because that would result in him being evicted, but denied wanting to move around undetected.
He said he was deaf and suffering from dementia.
However, he was convicted of the two offences of breaching the SOPO by the jury.
Dismissing his challenge to the guilty verdicts, Judge Francis Gilbert QC said: “The judge’s summing up was full and fair, the evidence was overwhelming and the convictions were safe.”
However, Mr Justice Royce said that Trotter may have grounds for appealing against the length of his jail term.
He added: “We draw this to his attention, as it may be that the procedure for sentencing him was in fact unlawful.
“We suggest he seeks legal advice on this aspect.”