May 2020

Paedophile teacher hanged himself after placing ‘symbols’ on bed

A prolific paedophile ex teacher who abused children under the noses of his colleagues laid out religious “symbols” before hanging himself in a shed, an inquest heard.

Merseyside Police officers were sent to check on the welfare of Brian Smith, 80, at his home in Okehampton Road, Childwall, after he failed to attend Liverpool Crown Court.

Smith had been due to stand trial over 14 counts of indecent assault against three boys between the 1960s and early 1980s, due to start on Monday, January 27.

But the charismatic abuser, who was heavily involved in the amateur musical theatre scene, was found hanging from the ceiling of his locked shed shortly after 10pm that night.

Smith, who had already pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault, had already skipped an earlier pre-trial hearing and had been arrested on warrant, telling officers he had planned to kill himself but “could not do it.”

After the ECHO published news of his death, multiple alleged victims came forward with harrowing accounts of manipulation and sexual abuse; many as pupils at his workplace in Lister Drive Primary School, Tuebrook.

One female victim had already bravely reported the abuse in 1994, but Smith was cleared during a trial at Liverpool Crown Court, where he was supported by colleagues and the parents of other pupils.

Today the inquest into his death at Gerard Majella Courthouse in Boundary Lane, Kirkdale, concluded Smith had died by suicide.

Coroner’s officer Liam Moss told the court: “Officers attended his address after concerns were raised for Brian’s welfare after he had failed to appear as a defendant at Liverpool Crown Court earlier that day.

“After a negative search of the house was conducted, entry was forced into the shed where Brian was found hanging from the ceiling.”

Mr Moss said Smith was cut down and an ambulance was called, but he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on January 28.