Ex Conservative councillor who pushed for gender neutral toilets jailed for sex abuse of two boys

A former Conservative councillor who called for Middlesbrough to become a gender-neutral town has been jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing two boys.

The perverted ex-Conservative councillor was found guilty in April of the harrowing abuse of two young boys over a decade ago. Smith carried out a catalogue of sexual abuse on one of his victims and also exposed himself to another young boy in an attempt to make him perform a sex act on him.

In June 2019, Cllr Smith, who was a Conservative member for Coulby Newham at the time, asked the Mayor of Middlesbrough to make all council building toilets become gender neutral, the first step as part of his demand that Middlesbrough become a gender-neutral town.

At the time, Smith, who campaigned as an LGBTQ+ advocate, said: “On Tuesday June 18, I am meeting Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and one of the issues I will be bringing up is one that I included in my local election campaign – gender neutral toilets.

“I am also intending to contact the relevant executive member and to get a local conversation across the area on this topic.

“Through my time interacting with local transgender and non-binary people, I’ve seen first hand the difficulties faced by these individuals when accessing public toilets and changing rooms.

“The feeling of humiliation is an experience that most of us don’t go through when visiting a public toilet and, in 2019, that is simply unacceptable.”

He resigned in July 2019 amid the child sexual abuse allegations. In a statement, he previously said: “I completely reject these spurious allegations and removing myself from the party will ensure I can focus all my efforts on fighting to clear my name.”

The 33-year-old spent £10,000 trying to buy the silence of the first boy, showering him with gifts, buying him computer games, and bringing him on elaborate shopping trips to Liverpool and Edinburgh. The trial also heard how the councillor gave one of his victims cannabis before abusing him after the child passed out from smoking the drug.

The first victim told Teesside Crown Court: “He used to buy me all sorts – he must have spent £6,000 to £10,000 on me easy.

“It was clothes, it was drugs, I used to smoke cannabis a lot and he used to buy me it. He used to buy me it every day, at least £20 a day. After I smoked it I would just go to sleep and when I woke up, he would be touching me.”

The jury unanimously found David Smith guilty of 11 counts of inciting, or engaging in sexual activity with a child. Teesside Crown Court heard distressing evidence of the sexual abuse during the trial – the two victims were teenagers when Smith targeted them.

One of the boys was groomed and repeatedly seriously sexually assaulted by Smith over the space of four years. The court heard how the boy has been massively impacted by the abuse, with his former girlfriend testifying that it had “destroyed their relationship” and that he was “traumatised” by what Smith had done to him.

Jurors came to the decision that Smith had raped one of his two victims on a number of occasions during his campaign of sexual abuse.

Smith repeatedly exposed himself to the second victim – who was also a teenage boy at the time of the abuse – before trying to persuade him to perform a sex act on him. The victim said he fled, telling the court: “He would flash me and as a kid I was shocked and didn’t know where to put myself.

“After a month and a half, it went from flashing at me to him asking me to touch him. It got to the point where he was getting closer to me and got more insistent”.

Speaking of how the abuse impacted the lives of his victims, particularly the boy who suffered the worst abuse, he said: “It did serious damage to his childhood, his emotions and his behaviour, and he is not over it yet”.

During the trial, it was revealed that the allegations only came to light in 2016, when the first victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, struggling to deal with the memory of the abuse, broke down and confided in his mother and girlfriend at the time.

Judge Stead added: “The defendant engaged in escalating sexual practices (with his two male victims) and indeed at one point he turned a young girl to perform sexual acts with him.

“It is clear that the defendant was working his way through the victims one after the other.”

Smith was finally forced to face his victims in court after a number of delays, including the trial being delayed because of Covid.

The disgraced ex-councillor was also made subject to an indefinite restraining order to protect his two victims and a third person, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and issued with an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

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