BBC chauffeur found dead on day he was due in court

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 22:20

London: A former BBC chauffeur, charged with sex offences as part of the inquiry into disgraced television presenter Jimmy Savile`s alleged sexual abuses, has been found dead after he failed to turn up in court on Tuesday.

Dave Smith, 67, who drove for TV personalities including Savile in the 1980s, had been due to stand trial for allegedly abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1984.

After he failed to show up at the court hearing, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

When officers went to his home in Lewisham, South London, they discovered a body, The Telegraph reported.

"Police attended a private address as a man had failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court today. At approx 14:20 pm (local time) officers entered the address and found the body of a man. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

While officers believe they know the identity of the deceased, they await confirmation of formal identification. A post mortem will take place in due course.

Smith faced two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child, and one of buggery, all relating to the 12-year-old boy, between June 1 and July 21, 1984.

There are fears that he took his own life, the Sun reported.
During the hearing at Southwark Crown Court, Smith`s defence counsel Sandy Canavan said her solicitor had been attempting to contact him without success.

"He has been regularly in contact, I am concerned at the lack of contact. He is the sole carer for his very aged and very unwell mother, that may have affected why he`s not here today," she said.

The court was told that officers were on the way to his home.
The judge issued a bench warrant, backed for bail, with the condition that he surrender to the court by 9:30 tomorrow morning, with the case to be listed for 10 am (local time).

Smith was the first person to be charged under operation Yewtree, set up in the wake of hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse against Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84.

Scotland Yard has led the probe, and separated its inquiries into those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.

Smith has been investigated under the "others" strand.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 22:20

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