A MURDERER, on life licence after strangling a young woman American tourist, tied his terrified ex-partner to a bed and kept her prisoner for seven long hours.

Robert Linton's helpless victim was particularly frightened as during their 20-month relationship he had told her about the callous murder he committed at a London hotel in 2003.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the victim had been tricked into coming home early as Linton, whom she allowed to stay over sometimes in her son’s bedroom, rang saying her dog was ill.

After she got back to her Birkenhead home on Wirral late on the afternoon of December 19 last year she saw "four dressing gown belts had been purposefully tied to both sides of the double bed.

"She realised at least one of the belts belonged to the defendant."

Linton, 45, came into the room and told her of his bizarre plan to get back the £2,000 he owed her.

"He told her he was unable to get a job due to his previous conviction and he wanted to tie her up so she could make a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board claim," said Tom Watson, prosecuting.

When arrested the defendant told police "he had been upset about her visiting different web sites and decided to tie her up in order to go through her mobile telephone."

He pleaded guilty, however, on the basis that his real intention had been to get money for her.

The court heard that Linton, previously known as Robert Noble, had been released from jail in July 2016 on life licence from the murder sentence.

His conviction followed him meeting a 20-year-old tourist from California while she was stranded by snow in London while on a world tour.

He had been living on the streets but put into the Hotel Rama by a crime reduction initiative support worker and he took the woman, Alyson Caplan, back to his room where they had a sexual relationship.

He left the next morning and pawned the victim’s Gucci watch and meanwhile the support worker arrived and found her naked body lying on the bed with two scarves around her neck.

The cause of death was found to be compression of the neck.

Mr Watson said that knowing about his conviction for murder his now ex-partner, a dementia patient care worker, was "very scared" when he told her of his plan to tie her up.

"She spent time trying to talk him out of the plan. It was when she attempted to leave the room he physically prevent her from leaving.

"She described how he grabbed and then physically threw her on the bed.

"He then straddled her preventing her from moving or getting out.

"She repeatedly asked him to allow her to get up but he refused.

"Her fear about what might happen was significantly heightened being aware of his past," said Mr Watson.

"She described herself as in fear for her life and frightened to fight back or struggle.

"She was tied up and held by those dressing gown belts for about 30 minutes.

"She managed to persuade him to untie her telling him she wanted to use the toilet and have drink.

"She was allowed to do so but not allowed to leave the room, which had an ensuite toilet.

"She pleaded with him not to tie her up again and he said he needed to tie her to the bed so he could make an escape but she managed to avoid being tied up again though she was not allowed to leave the bed.

"She was extremely fearful of attempting to leave and stayed on the bed with the defendant hoping in time he would fall asleep.

"He did eventually fall asleep but it took some hours. Meanwhile she was in fear and unable to leave the room."

Eventually when she was sure he was asleep she quietly escaped from the house and got into her car and drove straight to Birkenhead police station arriving at 3.23 am where "distressed" she told of her ordeal.

"She was in a heightened state of fear and at one point said she knew what he was capable of."

Police went to her home and found Linton hiding between parked cars outside her address and he was arrested.

In interview he said was originally from Scotland and the couple’s relationship had broken up about five weeks earlier and he had been worried about her going on dating websites.

He admitted taking two dressing gown belts with him to tie her up so he could go through her telephone records.

He acknowledged the situation would have been very frightening for her but said he would not have harmed her.

Linton, of Craven Street, Birkenhead, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment.

He has been recalled to prison because of his life licence and imposing a three year jail term with two years extended licence the judge, who ruled he is a dangerous offender, said that it would be up to the Parole Board when he is considered safe for release.

The judge, Recorder Mark Ford, said that it was obvious that his actions would almost inevitably cause serious psychological harm to his victim.

He said that his claim the plan was to enable him to clear the £2,000 debt that might be a secondary motivation and "a spurious justification for your actions."

He described it as pre-planned and said: "If your intention was purely and simply to obtain money by way of compensation it was not in fact necessary to imprison her in the way that you did.

"It must have been obvious that she was not prepared to go along with the plan and it would have been perfectly clear to you that she was extremely frightened.

"Nevertheless you press on and restrained her physically.

"Having restrained her you then checked her mobile telephone in order to determine whether you could discover evidence that she had been seeing anybody else."

Recorder Ford that while the plan may have been conceived in drink she begged him to abandon the plan but he did not do so.

In her impact statement she told how she now suffers from post traumatic stress, suffered headaches, nausea and flashbacks and feels she may have to move home as it brings back too many memories of the incident.

Neil Gunn, defending, said that Linton, whose first conviction in 1991 at Dumfries Sheriff’s Court involved arson, and the victim had spent three or four hours chatting before she went upstairs for a bath and discovered the dressing gown belts tied to the bed.

"At no point did he seek to harm her. He apologies and repeats that he did not intend any harm.

"It was at a time when he was in a particularly low mood and finding it difficult to cope.

"They had got on well and he felt guilty that he owed her money but could not get a job."

He told her of his plan and said that she must press charges against him.

"He doesn't seek to excuse his actions," said Mr Gunn.

He had not been working and was having to use food banks to survive.

He thinks about the murder every day and has tried in vain to get help for his mental health problems, he added.