Police praise strength of victims of 'deviant sexual predator'

Convicted sex offender Michael Smith.

Convicted sex offender Michael Smith. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

The "immeasurable" strength of two victims sexually abused by a "deviant sexual predator" who worked at a Norfolk school for pupils with complex needs has been praised by police.

Former DJ Michael Smith, 64, was convicted of 17 sexual offences, 15 of which were against one victim and two, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, were committed against a second victim.

The offences happened to the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over a four-year period between 2014 and 2018.

Norwich Crown Court heard the defendant continued to abuse one of the vulnerable victims after he had finished school.

On Monday, Smith, of High Street, Dereham, was handed a 28-year sentence, including 21 years in prison.

Speaking after the case, investigating officer Sarah Riseborough, from Norfolk Constabulary's Safeguarding and Investigations Team, said: "We see this pattern all too often, when abusers befriend the victims and their families in order to facilitate the abuse and avoid suspicion.

"The strength these boys have shown in acknowledging Smith’s actions as wrong, and speaking out about it, is immeasurable.

"Smith had been a figure of authority in their lives and was in a position of trust. He used this to commit terrible crimes that are likely to live with these victims forever.

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"While nothing will take their pain away, we hope that yesterday’s sentence provides some comfort to the victims and their families.

"Their courage has not only broken the cycle of abuse these boys faced but it has also prevented others becoming victims.

"We remain committed to bringing all sex offenders to justice in order to prevent future offending and will listen to anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, whether this is ongoing or non-recent.”

Other offences Smith was convicted of included five counts of causing/inciting sexual activity with a male with a mental disorder, three counts of causing or inciting sexual activity with a male with a mental disorder and engaging in a sexual activity in the presence of a person with a mental disorder.

A statement from one of the victims described how Smith had "destroyed" his family.

Sentencing Smith, Judge Andrew Shaw told Smith he was "little more than a deviant sexual predator".