David Smith, former BBC driver, dead on eve of sex abuse trial
Police find body of former chauffeur accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1984
A FORMER BBC chauffeur due to stand trial today for allegedly abusing a 12-year-old boy has been found dead in his home.
David Smith, 67, from Lewisham, south-east London, was charged with two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency and one of a serious sexual offence. He was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree – the police investigation into historical cases of abuse, set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Following his arrest in December, Smith, a chauffeur to celebrities during the 1980s, pleaded not guilty to the charges in July.
He failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court yesterday and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His counsel, Sandy Canavan, told the court that her solicitor had been attempting to contact Smith without success. "He has been regularly in contact," she told the judge. "I am concerned at the lack of contact. He is the sole carer for his very aged and very unwell mother; that may have affected why he's not here today."
But police officers subsequently found him dead in his home. The cause of his death is not yet known.
The partner of Smith's alleged victim apparently contacted police after watching the ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile. Broadcast on 3 October last year, the programme led to 600 people coming forward to give information about historic abuse, three-quarters of which related to Savile.
Smith's sex offences were alleged to have taken place in 1984. It was claimed that he met his victim at a swimming pool and invited him back to his flat where he sexually abused him. The victim claimed he was also indecently assaulted during a journey to the BBC studios at White City in west London.
Today the BBC reported that Smith was a "prolific sex offender" whose first conviction was in 1966. He had a total of 22 convictions for sexual offences against young boys. ·