Frinton man Alec Smith spared jail after indecently assaulting girl he was babysitting nearly 50 years ago

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A 75-year-old man from Essex found guilty of indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl he was babysitting nearly 50 years ago has been spared prison.

Before Ipswich Crown Court on Friday was Alec Smith, 75, of Little Wood, Frinton-on-sea, who was found guilty of indecently assaulting a girl he was babysitting when he was in his 20s, sometime between September 1968 and 1969.

The prosecution claimed he had touched the girl, then eight-years-old, indecently while on the sofa.

The girl told her mother what happened that night after she got home, prompting the girl’s mother to have a conversation with Smith’s then wife.

The court heard that after the conversation the matter was “swept under the carpet”.

Smith was convicted in November, but during his sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday was given a two year jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Martyn Levett said the matter had to be dealt with under the sentencing guidelines for when the incident happened.

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In an emotional moment, the victim read her statement to the court in which she said that for as long as she could remember she had “felt worthless”, and suffered from high anxiety.

She said she had been on and off anti-depressants since the age of 14, as well as suffering from stress and trust issues.

In her statement she said: “I cannot get past the fact that my parents did nothing for all those years.”

She said it was “like being tormented every day” and added: “I felt completely let down by my parents that they remained friends with Alec”.

Sentencing, Judge Martyn Levett said: “Overall I have extreme sympathy for the complainant who has had to endure this over a long period of time. I hope there will be some closure for her with regard to that.”

He added that historic cases meant he was often “dealing with people who are well into their 70s who have shown exemplary conduct over their lifetime,” and said that Smith had showed no trouble since then.

He was given a two year jail term suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £4,200. He was also handed 180 hours of unpaid work and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for a period of 10 years.

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