First Yewtree suspect took his own life coroner rules

Police Officers Pic: J D Mack

Police Officers Pic: J D Mack

A Lewisham driver who was the first person charged in connection with the Operation Yewtree inquiry into historic cases of sexual abuse committed suicide, a coroner has ruled.

David Smith, 67 from Lewisham, was found dead in his South London flat last October after he failed to attend court.

Senior coroner Dr Andrew Harris told the inquest at Southwark Crown Court that Smith had taken a “fatal combination” of opiates, morphine and codeine.

Smith was the first person to be charged under Yewtree, the police investigation into sexual abuse launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile Scandal.

The operation has three strands. Smith was investigated under the third strand which concentrates on accusations emerged as a result of the publicity surrounding Savile.

Smith was due to stand trial for allegedly abusing a 12 year old boy, and faced two counts of indecency and one of a serious sexual offence between 1 June and 21 July 1984.

He was described in court last year as a former BBC driver, but the corporation have since distanced themselves from Smith stating they have no record of his employment.

It was alleged Smith had taken his victim on a visit to the former BBC studios at White City, and it was during the journey the boy claimed that Smith had indecently assaulted him.

David Smith was described as a prolific sex offender and had 22 convictions of sexual offences against young boys.

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