Radio Sandwell News

Operation Yewtree: Accused ex-BBC driver found dead

2013-10-29 01:36:24

David Smith
Smith was the first person to be charged under
Operation Yewtree

A former BBC driver accused of sex offences has been found dead.

David Smith, 67, from Lewisham, south-east London, had been due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court for allegedly abusing a boy, 12, in 1984.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on Monday after he failed to attend court.

Smith was charged with two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency and one of a serious sexual offence as part of Operation Yewtree. The cause of his death is not yet known.

Smith was the first person to be charged under the investigation into historical cases of abuse, which was originally set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

It was alleged Smith met his victim at a swimming pool, invited him back to his flat where he sexually abused him.

He also took the boy on a visit to the BBC studios at White City, in west London. During the journey the boy claimed that he was indecently assaulted.

Historical abuse

The victim's partner contacted police after she saw his response to the ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which was broadcast on 3 October 2012.

A previous attempt to track down Smith in 2002 had failed when police could not find him - even though he was in prison at the time.

David Smith was a prolific sex offender whose first conviction was in 1966. He had 22 convictions for sexual offences against young boys.

His barrister became concerned on Monday when Mr Smith failed to appear at court.

Police found him at his home address at about 14:20 GMT and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death is not yet known and a post-mortem examination will take place.

His trial had been due to start on Tuesday.

Yewtree is an inquiry into allegations of historical sexual abuse linked to the entertainment industry.

The operation has three strands. One concerns Savile's crimes exclusively, while a second strand relates to allegations against Savile and others.

The third strand concentrates on accusations which emerged as a result of the publicity surrounding Savile, but which are unconnected to him.

Smith was investigated under the third strand.


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