Update: To be released end of April 2019

January 2015

Bradford abuser jailed for ten years after tricking youngsters into his bedroom during hide and seek game

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A CHILD abuser from Bradford who raped a boy and girl and sexually abused two other boys has been jailed for more than ten years.

Gareth Smith played a hide-and-seek game called Freeze to trick his victims into his bedroom before sexually abusing them, a court heard yesterday.

His four victims were aged between ten and 13 years at the time of the abuse, which took place between April 2009 and October 2011, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told.

The mother of one of the victims he abused said Smith, who was aged between 14 and 17 when he carried out the attacks, had destroyed her family.

Smith, 20, of Seldon Street, Canterbury, Bradford, was jailed for ten years and two months by Judge John Potter, who told him: “This sexual abuse goes far, far beyond sexual experimentation between young people.

“You were the dominant and domineering figure in this activity. You were older, by a number of years, than your victims.

“You orchestrated for a purpose of no other reason than your own sexual gratification.”

He added: “The victim impact statements speak graphically of the harm caused to victims and their families.”

A statement from the girl’s mum was read out in court. In it she said her daughter no longer trusts anyone and had changed from a “quiet, nice girl” into an “argumentative child.”

Prosecutor Matthew Bean added: “The mum said it has destroyed her family.”

Meanwhile, the court heard that one of the male victims was “very stressed” by the abuse and had become unsociable because of a “fear of making friends” in case it happened again.

Describing the sequence of offending, Mr Bean said: “Things got weirder and weirder.”

On one occasion, Smith put a sock around a boy’s eyes before sexually assaulting him.

Mr Bean said one of the other youngsters “felt disgusted” by what happened. He was also scared to go out, could not sleep, and was angry at what had happened.

Th court heard that Smith sometimes punched one of his victims to “ensure compliance”.

When he was arrested, Smith told police that his victims were lying. However, he pleaded guilty on September 18 last year to 16 charges, shortly before he was due to stand trial.

Smith, who had no previous convictions, winked and smiled at family members in the public gallery as he entered and left the dock.

Charles Blatchford, defending, said his client was now in a stable relationship with his fiancee and that his behaviour would not be repeated as it was “just a phase of his life”. He also spoke of Smith’s remorse and mentioned letters supporting Smith’s character from his local community.

Detective Constable Helen Riley, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: “I would like to thank the victims in this case for their co-operation, they have shown courage and bravery throughout and should be proud of themselves for coming forward.

“I hope the lengthy sentence given to Smith today will give them some closure and allow them to move on with their lives.”