October 2017

Child abuser who clutched Bible in dock jailed

A MAN who repeatedly molested a girl, starting when she was just 11 years old, has been jailed for nine years.

Stephen Smith, 47, was only caught after the child’s mother spotted a message on her tablet referring to the abuse.

Although Honda worker Smith handed himself in to the police after being confronted about his crimes he repeatedly minimised what he had done.

He was due to face sentence at Swindon Crown Court last month but the case had to be adjourned and the young victim was warned she might need to give evidence.

As Smith stood in the dock clutching a Bible, his barrister said he could not continue representing him after he the defendant claimed his offending was not as serious as alleged.

Even when the case was brought back after he accepted the Crown’s case, the matter was nearly put off again as he again tried to downplay what he had done.

Rob Welling, prosecuting, said after the mother read the comments on the computer and spoke to her daughter she sent a text to the defendant, who handed himself in.

The girl’s parents took her to the police and she said she had been abused for about two years.

Mr Welling said the prosecution rejected any suggestion by the defendant that the child had been in any way complicit in what he had done.

As a result of the abuse he said the girl had suffered anxiety and feared that people at school had been spreading rumours about her. He said she had feared having to give evidence.

Smith, of Irston Way, Freshbrook, admitted four counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 and four counts of sexual assault.

John Upton, defending, said his had handed himself in to the police and pleaded guilty.

Passing sentence, Judge Robert Pawson said: “You minimised your behaviour. You maintained you had not enjoyed it… that it had not given you any pleasure, which is nonsense.”

You lack appreciation of what you did, you lack appreciation of your own blameworthiness.”

Smith was jailed for nine years with a one-year extended licence, meaning he will be considered for parole at the halfway point and not released automatically.

He must also abide by a sexual harm prevention order and register as a sex offender for life.