July 1998

Life sentence warning for child abuser

A PAEDOPHILE who posed as a bus driver to molest young boys in Morecambe was warned he faces life imprisonment behind bars by an Old Bailey judge this week. Graham Smith, 45, who did not even have a driver’s licence, fondled boys or young men during a bus-driver’s ‘examination.’ A jury found Smith guilty of seven charges of indecent assault, one attempted rape and one count of rape between March 1996 and November 1997, he was acquitted of one rape charge and one of indecent assault.

Smith was jailed for four years at Preston Crown Court in 1991 for the sexual abuse of two boys who he took back to his address then in Morecambe.

But in his latest visit to the court jurors sat stunned as they heard he has committed more than 100 offences across the country, mainly of a sexual nature since 1981. Prosecuting counsel Mr David Jeremy said the convictions involved similar ‘modus operandi’ with Smith posing as a bus driver in Morecambe as well as other towns and cities in the country.

The latest trial heard how he used a ‘deliberately thought out a precise system’ to lure his victims back to his flat. The young men, in their teens or early 20s, the youngest aged 15, all came from broken homes and were all desperate for work, said counsel.

The jury heard how Smith lured the boys back to his flat to fill in forms and undergo a medical, telling them they had to be strong and fit to be a bus driver.

“The young men were told to remove their clothes and the defendant would set about fondling them – it was a charade – he had no medical qualifications,” said counsel.

Some of the young men refused his advances but counsel explained: “others put up with it because they believed it was necessary in order for them to get a job.”

Sometimes the fondling turned into very serious sex attacks after the victims were plied with alcohol and offered money, the court heard.

When arrested he put himself forward as a “Good Samaritan’ type who wandered the soup kitchens and hostels helping out young homeless people. Smith painted a picture to police of young men with drink and drug problems who would say anything, the court heard. Remanding Smith in custody until August 14 while psychiatric and pre-sentence reports are prepared, Judge George Barhurst Norman told him: “I am considering the making of an indefinite sentence.”