January 2009

Man jailed for sex attacks over 30 years ago

A Wirral man was jailed on Wednesday for a string of sex attacks against two young girls more than 30 years ago.

Vincent Smith, who regularly abused his young victims over more than seven years, began committing the offences when he was just 13 and his first victim only seven.

Liverpool Crown Court heard when he was 15 he began to abuse the other girl, also seven.

Simon Christie, prosecuting, said the offences only came to an end when Smith turned 20.

“He accepts that from a young age he was engaged in sexual activity with the girls on a regular basis. He can’t remember when it began, but accepts it had begun by the time he was 14,” he said.

The crimes eventually came to light when he was accused of two further offences.

Mr Christie said that between September 2003 and April 2004 Smith had climbed into a shower with another youngster and exposed himself, before asking her to touch him.

Smith, 50, a father-of-one, formerly of Westbourne Road, Prenton, denied the two charges of gross indecency, but it led to his his former victims speaking out.

He later admitted 17 counts of indecent assault from the 1970s and was found guilty by a jury of the two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Jailing him for four-and-a-half years, Judge Adrian Lyon said, “The main aggravating feature is the length of time it took place over and his age by the time it finished.”

Smith, of Old Chester Road, Birkenhead, who had no previous convictions, was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life and banned from working with children.

Martine Snowdon, defending, said three-times married Smith now accepted responsibility for the earlier offences, but had been a child himself when it began.

“He was a very young child himself who may not have appreciated the magnitude of how wrong it was.”

She added that Smith had done a lot of charity work and worked for St John’s Ambulance for many years without complaint.