July 2019

‘Manipulative and predatory’ remorseless pervert who groomed underage girls sentenced

A remorseless pervert who groomed an underage girl into meeting him for sex has started a 10-year extended sentence.

Philip Smart, 29, was branded a “manipulative and predatory” sexual deviant who posed a danger to the public.

He started speaking to the vulnerable teenager via social media, sent her an indecent picture of himself and asked her to do the same.

She went to his flat where they had unprotected sex three or four times several years ago.

Smart knew she had already been involved in a police investigation into grooming which led to another man’s conviction and sentence.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had self-harmed after this experience, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Jo Kidd said: “Her perception was that Philip Smart was a shoulder to cry on, somebody who she could confide in.

“The irony being he used that precise vulnerability to gain his own sexual gratification.”

In July 2015 Smart was given a jail term of four years and two months for grooming two other underage girls.

He sent out random messages via WhatsApp in a “fishing expedition” and targeted two girls who responded.

Again he asked for indecent pictures and for one girl to meet, but no meeting took place as a social worker learned of the messages.

He was released from that long sentence in May 2017, and reoffended within three months.

He flouted court orders by using an unregistered alias of Andrew Smith on Facebook to contact the girl he had sex with years earlier.

She realised who he was and reported all of his behaviour to the police for the first time.

In a statement read out in court, the girl said she felt trapped and intimidated by Smart.

She said: “I felt he was constantly watching me and he had some kind of hold on me.

“This resulted in me having a panic alarm installed.

“I felt disgusted with him and with myself. I constantly feel disappointed with myself that I let it happen.

“I also regret not telling anyone about what had happened sooner.

“I worry that he might have done something similar to other girls.”

She said she found the court case exhausting, scary and unnerving, and was anxious she would not be believed.

She said she could finally move on after Smart was convicted on five charges.

Smart, of Waverley Street, Stockton, denied three charges of sexual activity with a child, one of causing a child to be involved in pornography and one of failing to comply with notification requirements.

A jury rejected his account and found him guilty after a trial.

Judge Deborah Sherwin told him: “It is the view of the probation officer that you are capable of engaging in manipulative and predatory behaviour in order to meet your own sexually deviant needs.

“That is a view that I agree with.

“It is clear that you are totally without remorse, totally without insight into the danger you pose and totally incapable of learning from your past mistakes.

“You’ve really learned nothing from your time in prison.

“You don’t think you did anything wrong.

“The conclusion I’ve come to is that you are a dangerous offender.”

Smart was given a five-year prison sentence plus five years’ extended licence.

He must serve at least two-thirds of the five-year jail term before the Parole Board decide whether it is safe to release him early.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for life, along with indefinite sexual harm prevention and restraining orders.

July 2015

Stockton man jailed after arranging to meet 14-year-old girl girl for sex

smart

A man has been jailed for more than four years for arranging to meet an underage girl for sex and asking two teenagers to send indecent pictures to him.

Philip Smart, 25, was sentenced to 42 months for causing or inciting a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity on January 29 and February 5; and arranging or facilitating a child sex offence of sexual activity with the same girl, by requesting that they meet up on January 29.

He was sentenced to eight months to run consecutively for inciting child pornography – asking a second teenage girl for a picture on February 11.

In total Smart, of Yarm Road, Stockton, was sent to prison for four years and two months by Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough.

Teesside Crown Court heard that the first teenage girl was contacted by Smart via “a random Facebook message” which progressed into a conservation via messages which became more explicit and Smart suggested they meet for sex at his flat.

The teenager suggested Ropner Park as she was “too shy” to go to his flat and the meeting was stopped after the teenager – who the court heard had a mental capacity of a 10-year-old – confided in a carer at the children’s home where she lived. The carer rang Smart to ask him how old he was and he said he was 25.

The second 14-year-old girl, who the court heard has cerebral palsy, was contacted by Smart via social media app Whatsapp and was asked to send an indecent photo to the defendant while he sent her one.

The court was told that Smart knew the first girl was in care but would not have known of either girl’s disabilities.

Shaun Dryden, defending, said Smart’s previous convictions – for which he received a six-week custodial sentence for each, were for burglary and threats to commit criminal damage – were not of a similar nature. He said Smart had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The court heard statements from both girls, the first said what Smart had done was “horrible” while the second said she never wanted to hear from him again.

Judge Bourne-Arton said both of the girls were vulnerable.

“You set out to groom [the first girl] and you gained her trust so she trusted you and in the case of both girls you knew they were under 16.”

He said the probation reports showed Smart had a “dismissive attitude” and claimed he had been targeted by the victims and called him “reckless and risk-taking” for self-gratification.

“He considers you posing a considerable risk to young girls.”

He ordered that Smart be placed on the sex offenders register and gave him a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.