October 2017: Released to the Midsomer Norton area. Smart is now on licence until 2021

May 2012

Businessman jailed for nine years over child sex offences

A 61-year-old paedophile from Paulton was described as “a serial sexual predator who hid behind a veneer of respectability” as he was jailed for nine years for offences that spanned four decades.

Businessman John Smart, who owned a number of companies in the area, was handed the sentence for sexual offences against three children and one adult when he appeared before Bristol Crown Court on Friday.

Smart had pleaded guilty to five charges of indecent assault against a 14-year-old boy during 2010 and 2011 and was found guilty of indecently assaulting his first victim, a woman aged in her early 20s in the 1970s, of sexually assaulting a young teenage girl on several occasions in the 1970s and was also found guilty of indecently assaulting another girl on several occasions between March 1996 and March 1998 when she was between ten and 12 years of age.

Recorder Judge Towler said: “Beneath a veneer of respectability you were in fact a serial sexual predator. In reaching my conclusion I take into account not only evidence from the trial and police but also admissions to your probation officer.”

A Sexual Offenders Prevention Order was also made which stops Smart ever living in a house with a person under 16 unless approved by Social Services and being in unsupervised contact with a female under 18 unless the child’s parents know about his crimes and it has been approved by Social Services.

He must also only use internet devices that cannot have their search history deleted and it must also be available for inspection by police at any time. He must also sign the Sex Offenders Register for the rest of his life.

DI Mike Williams, of Bath and North East Somerset Police Public Protection Unit, said: “My thoughts are with the victims of this investigation, who bravely gave evidence during the trial of sexual offences committed against them by a manipulative sexual predator.

“I am pleased with the verdicts and sentence passed today, which I hope provides the victims with some closure and allows them to move on with their lives, knowing that he will serve a lengthy custodial sentence for the crimes committed against them.

“They will also be hopefully reassured that on his release from prison he will be managed in the community by the police as a Registered Sex Offender, aimed at reducing the opportunity for him to further offend.

“I would urge anyone who may have been the victim of any sexual assault past or present to come forward and talk to specially trained staff who will do as much as they possibly can to help and support them.”