April 2011

Paedophile ruined my life, says abused girl

THE victim of a paedophile has told how the abuse has ruined her life – and of her hopes that her attacker suffers while in prison.

Edward Smith is starting a ten-year sentence for a series of sex crimes against a girl he groomed with cigarettes, sweets and lemonade.

The 75-year-old former soldier from County Durham is now wheelchair-bound and is suffering ill-health following a heart attack.

His victim – now in her 20s – said she had her childhood stolen by the pervert and wants him to endure the same kind of trauma she has.

In a victim impact statement prepared before he was sentenced, she says: “When I heard he had a heart attack, I didn’t want him to die.

“All I want is for him to go to prison and for his life to be taken away . . . to get at least as many years as the years he had taken from me.”

The Northern Echo reported last week how Smith abused the youngster after meeting her at a junior school in Peterlee in the Nineties.

He saw her smoking near the playground and invited her into his home, where he said she could do so without being spotted by grown-ups.

Smith – who also worked as a miner, security guard and bus driver – encouraged the girl to return by handing over sweets and fizzy pop. He went on to ply her with booze and abuse her until she reached the age of 14, when she realised what was happening was wrong and stopped visiting.

During the campaign of abuse, he ensured the girl’s silence by threatening that she would be taken into care if she ever told anyone.

His own lawyer, Ian Hudson, described his crimes as “heinous” and said Smith was struggling to understand why he committed them.

Mr Hudson told Teesside Crown Court that Smith accepted that he had done wrong, and knew he was unlikely ever to be a free man again.

In a recent interview with a probation officer, Smith said: “I know what I did was wrong and they should throw the book at me.”

At an earlier hearing, he pleaded guilty to three specimen charges of rape and two of indecency with a child, and a count of attempted rape.

Smith, of Morton Square, Peterlee, was told by Judge George Moorhouse the victim’s attitude towards life had been “directly affected” by him.

In the statement, she says she became “a horrible person”

and was still unable to speak to her mother about the abuse. “I feel I have very little self-confidence, and I blame him for that,” she says.