A Tidworth man has been jailed for ten years after being convicted of sexually abusing two children, as well as possession of indecent images of children.
William Smith, 69, formerly of Oak Close in Tidworth, but now in prison for previous offences, appeared at Salisbury Crown Court this week (19th April 2022) for sentencing.
He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of 13, three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of being in possession of 79 prohibited images of children.
He was jailed for a total of ten years and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order was put in place. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Smith was initially investigated by another police force due to the fact that they had uncovered communication by Smith online, where he was openly discussing the sexual abuse of children.
He believed he was speaking to another sex offender, but it was actually an undercover police operative, and Smith was subsequently arrested when he travelled to meet this contact with the intention of committing further sexual offences. He was later jailed for those offences.
Following this arrest, Wiltshire Police were informed of potential offences committed in this county, including the fact that Smith had revealed details of children he had abused in Wiltshire.
Officers executed a warrant at his home address in Tidworth, seizing devices for further evidence, and also made contact with the families of the children they believed he had abused.
Detective Constable Justine Parsons, from Wiltshire Police’s Child Internet Exploitation Team, said, “When Smith’s mobile phones were examined, we uncovered more than 2,000 indecent images of children which he had downloaded, including 316 which were categorised as depicting the most serious abuse of children.
“Our enquiries also led us to two people, one of whom is still a child, who were sexually abused by Smith and they very bravely told us what had happened to them, re-living some very traumatic and upsetting experiences they had been subjected to.
“I want to pay tribute to these two victims and their families. We know how incredibly hard it is for people to speak out about sexual abuse, particularly when this is something which has happened to them as young children, and I applaud their bravery and resilience during such a difficult time.”
If you have been the victim of abuse, or if you have concerns about a child you know, please speak to someone about this. You can report it to the police, or speak to a charity or a specialist organisation, if you prefer.
You can find more information about the support available on the Wiltshire Police website here.