December 2006

Why was this paedophile allowed to teach for 27 YEARS after assaulting schoolboys?

 

A BIRMINGHAM paedophile was allowed to give gym lessons to schoolchildren for 27 years AFTER being found guilty of idecently assaulting schoolboys. 

Former Olympic gymnastics judge Ron Smith, 65, who taught in the city, was finally jailed last week for crimes committed more than 20 years ago. 

And last night retired cop Phil Lewis, the private eye who finally brought the pervert to justice, blasted the authorities for allowing the teacher to slip through the net. 

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mercury, Mr Lewis told how he tracked down Smith’s victims one by one on the internet after a police investigation failed to get anywhere. 

“The police interviewed one of his victims in 2004 but Smith denied everything,” he said. “Without any more complainants, they said there was nothing more they could do. It wasn’t their responsibility totrawl for other victims. 

“I used to work on the Family and Child Protection Unit when I was in the force, and I couldn’t believe it when I heard this. 

“If this man had come to us, it would have been our first priority to try to find other victims who could corroborate the claims and investigate it thoroughly. The police just washed their hands of it. 

“In the end, the British Gymnastics Association hired me to investigate Smith instead. I interviewed the victim myself, and realised the police hadn’t done a very good job. 

“I knew he was telling the truth. I knew I had to find justice for him.” 

The retired father-of-two, who used to work as a cop in Warwickshire, spent the next 18 months tracking down the victim’s former schoolmates, taking statements and collecting evidence. 

At one stage, he was even banned from the Friends Reunited website for making too many enquiries. 

But he managed to find two other complainants, one in the UK and one in Australia. As a result of the information he collected, a third victim came forward and the decision was made to prosecute. 

“Smith had been found guilty of indecent assault against two 12 year-old boys and fined pounds 20 in 1969,” he said. “But he was given permission to continue teaching after writing to the then Education Secretary, Edward Short. 

“He had been working at a school in Birmingham but had been forced to resign in the wake of the court case. 

“Within months, he had found a place teaching physics at Bartholomew School in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, where until 1985. After that he became director of Fromeside Gymnastics Club, near Bristol. 

“The school authorities were fully aware of his recent past yet still allowed the appointment. He has coached young boys for the last 27 years. 

“I am very saddened this predator was allowed to continue teaching. There must be many more victims out there. 

“It is satisfying that he has finally been brought to justice.” 

During the trial, the court heard about incidents between 1982 and 1986, involving three victims aged between 10 and 13 at the time. 

Smith, who was a judge at the 19 8 4 Los Angeles Olympics, took them on weekend trips, during which they would camp and stay in youth hostels or at Smith’s flat in Bath. 

The court was told that the boys, who were given beer and shown pornography, were made to share his tent and, on one occasion, his bed, where he sexually assaulted a boy. 

Since 1985, Mr Smith, a childless bachelor, has lived in a detached stone cottage at Winterbourne Down, near Bristol. 

He was found guilty of five charges of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14 and one of indecency with a child under 16. He was found not guilty of three more charges of indecent assault on a boy under 14. 

Smith was sentenced to three years in prison at Oxford Crown Court