December 2016

Paedophile Robert Smith released early into same county where he abused 21 children

A paedophile who was told by a judge he deserved to die in jail is to be released early into the same county where he raped and abused 21 children as young as four.

Robert Smith will be out on the streets of Yorkshire before Christmas, despite the judge who sentenced him saying his crimes were the worst of their type he had ever encountered.

Smith’s horrified victims claim the Ministry of Justice has put the rights of the rapist, who is moving to Leeds, first.

He will not even be required to wear a tag.

One victim said: ‘It’s a nightmare that’s never going to end. It will only end when he’s dead and buried.’

Sentencing Smith in 2006, Judge Paul Hoffman told him: ‘If the sentence that is passed results in you dying in prison, that’s no more than you deserve.’

The judge said he had searched legal textbooks but found no other case ‘as bad as this one,’ telling York Crown Court: ‘Yours is the worst case of it’s type that I have ever encountered in nearly 42 years of criminal practice. It stands apart in its sheer scale of wickedness and your callous disregard for your victims’ feelings.

‘It is a case of prolonged and insatiable depravity.

For 30 years you abused the trust placed in you by parents and children alike, using them as sexual playthings.’

After his release Smith will wear a voluntary GPS tag, sign the sex offenders register and adhere to a curfew.

In 2006 Smith, now 76, pleaded guilty to 42 sex offences against both boys and girls that began in 1954, receiving a 20-year sentence.

But these were just sample offences because many victims could not remember in detail the many occasions he abused them.

Seven of his child victims came from a single family of nine children. In a separate series of attacks two generations of a family were abused by him because the mother, raped as a child, was too terrified to confront him.

In all nearly 40 children were thought to be victims of his abuse.

He carried out many of his violent attacks in a shed near Scarborough pier, often holding a knife to the child’s neck as he raped them.

Smith repeatedly escaped justice. The first complaints against him came in 1987 but police just cautioned him.

He was jailed for two years in 1993 for indecent assault and gross indecency.

He was only arrested again in 2005 when a man who had been abused as a young child contacted police after discovering the paedophile was living near a school.

Now one victim, representing several others, has come forward to describe her fury that probation services are releasing Smith back into his home county to live just an hour from his victims.

She said: ‘Seeing him would be the most horrendous thing that could ever happen. If we were out in town and we saw him, it’s just devastating, it’s frightening that that could happen.

‘The majority of his victims live in the local town. The victims are distraught, they won’t go out if it happens.’

Victims had previously been told each time Smith was up for parole, but last month they received a phone call without warning telling them his release had been rubber-stamped, which was confirmed last week.

‘We don’t want him to come back to Scarborough or York,’ the victim said. ‘We can put in our recommendations but the probation officers can say, ‘no he’s local he can come back’. It’s disgusting that they are not listening to us.’

She added that victims are terrified he will find them, or that he will continue to abuse local children. ‘He will never change even though he’s 76 and he’s in a wheelchair.

He will do it again. He’s never ever shown any remorse. He did it systematically for years, he is a brute.

‘We all wanted him to die in prison. He’s an evil man. I want people to hear our voices because the Victim Support just aren’t [helping]. Thirty-six or 37 people objected to him coming out. They have got to listen. We have to live with this for the rest of our lives. You get these do-gooders who say it’s his human right, but men like this don’t have human rights.’

Victim Support Leeds told victims last week: ‘I can now tell you that the offender will be released before Christmas. He will be escorted from the prison to approved premises (probation hostel) by the police. All the licence conditions are in place.’

The Ministry of Justice said they do not comment on individual prisoners.

A spokesman added: ‘Public protection is our priority. Sex offenders on licence are subject to a strict set of conditions, which may include preventing them from contacting their victims and banning them from entering certain areas, as well as being subject to the sex offenders register.

‘If they fail to comply with these conditions they can be returned to prison.’

August 2006

Paedophile gets 20 years for ‘worst ever’ child sex abuse

One of Britain’s ‘worst ever’ paedophiles was told he deserves to die behind bars after being sentenced to 20 years in jail today.

Robert Smith, 65, admitted preying on 21 innocent young children – some of them only toddlers – during a 30 year campaign of rape and sexual abuse.

A whole family of nine children were systematically abused by Smith and many of his victims went on to develop mental health problems. Judge Paul Hoffman told him: ‘If the sentence that is passed results in you dying in prison, that’s no more than you deserve.

‘ It was heart rending to hear of the physical and mental pain of many of them.’

The judge said he had searched legal textbooks but found no other case ‘that’s as bad as this one,’ adding:’Yours is the worst case of it’s type that I have ever encountered in nearly 42 years of criminal practice.

‘It stands apart in its sheer scale of wickedness and your callous disregard for your victims’ feelings.

‘It is a case of prolonged and insatiable depravity. For thirty years you abused the trust placed in you by parents and children alike, using them as sexual playthings.’ As he was sentenced there were delighted cries of ‘Yes!’ and ‘Rot in hell’ from victims in the packed public gallery at York Crown Court.

Overweight and balding Smith pleaded guilty to 42 sex offences including rape and buggery, that began in 1954 and spanned 30 years.

But these were simply sample counts because many of his victims couldn’t remember in detail the many occasions that ‘dirty, smelly and overbearing’ Smith had abused them.

He admitted countles more sex offences – some against children as young as four – to probation officers.

The first complaints against Smith, of Cross Street, Scarborough, were made in 1987 following allegations of indecent assault by victims involved in the case but police merely cautioned him.

He was convicted of indecent assault and gross indecency in 1993 and jailed for two years.

Smith was arrested in 2005 when one of his victims, abused as a young child, contacted police when he realised the paedophile was living near a school in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and the true extent of his horrific crimes became apparent.

Police conceded there had been a ‘missed opportunity’ in 1987. Smith’s barrister Simon Reevell told the court his offending had stopped around 20 years ago.

Detective Inspector Mick Moore, of North Yorkshire Police, said after sentencing: ‘His sexual offending first came to the notice of the police in 1987 but it was not until 1993 that he received a custodial sentence for sexual offences against children committed in the 1960s and 70s.

‘It should be stressed that the full extent of Smith?s offending was not known at that time and it was only in 2005 that the current offences were brought to the attention of the police.’

The court heard many victims would be lured into a shed near Scarborough pier where Smith worked as a fish filleter before being abused.

Other times he would take some children to a farm and others to a forest where he would tell them: ‘We’re going to play our little game’.

One girl was so traumatised that she developed a speech impediment and eventually stopped speaking altogether.

David Brooke, prosecuting, said: ‘She remembered being abused a number of times by Smith who was known as ‘Bobbo’.

‘Unfortunately her own father was an aggressive and bullying man and would say: ‘Bobbo will sort her out’ if she was naughty.

‘When she was 30 years old, Smith made an unwarranted visit to her home. She was still so scared of him that she hid behind the settee with her two children, such was her fear.’

Mr Brooke said: ‘His first victim lived in total fear of him all of her life. She was five when she was first abused by him and she was raped by him.

‘She ran away at 11 years old but never escaped the fear of him. She said he was arrogant and it was as if he didn’t care. One time friends could see her being abused through a letter box but he just continued.

‘She recalls finding her name on a list written by Smith entitled: ‘Girls and Boys I have played with.’

After the case, one victim, a man in his 40s, said: ‘Justice has been done. It has been a very traumatic experience and all the victims want to get on with our lives.’

Another victim, a man in his 20s, supported by his girlfriend, said: ‘I just want to say the police and the judge did an excellent job. We are all hoping for closure.’ Smith is expected to serve up to two thirds or 14 years of his sentence.