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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Rory search man faced sex charges
Police guard the Camps Rigg house
Mr Harris' body was found at a house in Livingston
The man found dead by police investigating the murder of 11-year-old Rory Blackhall was facing sex charges, it has been revealed.

The body of Simon Harris, 37, was found at his home in Livingston following a police search.

The Crown Office has confirmed that he appeared at Linlithgow Sheriff Court on 28 February accused of abusing three girls between 1993 and 2000.

He was due to appear again on 22 August but failed to turn up.

Mr Harris faced eight charges of lewd and libidinous behaviour and three of assault.

A warrant was granted for his arrest but Lothian and Borders Police said they had still not received the paperwork from the court. The trial had been scheduled to take place on 5 September.

He never spoke to anyone except the few visitors he had and they all seemed to be drunks or down-and-outs
Local woman

A post-mortem examination into Mr Harris' death has been carried out. No-one else is being sought in connection with his death.

The inquiry into the death of Rory was continuing, police said. His body was found in woods about a mile from Mr Harris' house on Sunday 21 August, three days after the schoolboy went missing.

Police have declined to comment on reports that Mr Harris had been found hanged in a garden shed. There have been no new appeals for information from the police team investigating Rory's murder.

'Funny character'

Forensic experts have been examining the two-storey gable-end house since police broke in on Sunday.

The previous day, detectives appealed for information about a man wearing a deerstalker type hat and a black bomber jacket who was seen the day before Rory vanished in the area near his school.

BBC Scotland reporter Nigel Robson said neighbours did not know much about Mr Harris.

Forensic experts have been examining the property
Forensic experts have been examining the property

He said: "He's described as being very quiet, not talking to neighbours, often dressed in dark clothes, always wearing a hat, dark jacket - not a person who spoke to the people living next door at all."

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: "He was a funny character and not the sort you'd like to meet on a dark night.

"He never spoke to anyone except the few visitors he had and they all seemed to be drunks or down-and-outs."

Several neighbours said they had thought that nobody had lived at the house for years.

'Acting nasty'

One said: "I thought it was derelict because there were never any lights on. You never saw anyone coming or going and the garden was an absolute mess."

Another said the man, believed to have been a joiner, had "changed" in the last few years, putting on weight and "acting nasty".

She said: "He went away for ages and his house was empty. When he came back, he'd totally changed and acted strangely.

Rory Blackhall
Rory's body was found about a mile from Mr Harris' house

"He seemed quite threatening whenever you saw him."

Rory's mother Michelle, 41, father Russell, 42, and brother Conal, 14, made an emotional visit to the area close to where his body was found to lay flowers over the weekend.

West Lothian Council is planning to carry out a full review of its attendance and transport policies for local schools, following Rory's death.

A spokesman said it would be undertaken by senior council officials and that schools and parents would be consulted over any recommendations.

"Rory's death has shocked and saddened his school and the wider community," he said.

He added that the review would be carried out with "some urgency".

"However, it will be necessary to take sufficient time to fully explore all the issues and implications of this tragic event," he said.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Neighbours express shock at events in Livingston



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