Savile driver found dead after missing trial

David Smith (66) was charged with sex offences and due at London court yesterday

File photo  of David Smith (66) the former driver charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

File photo of David Smith (66) the former driver charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 07:29

A former BBC driver charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile has been found dead at his home.

David Smith (66), who was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, had failed to turn up at Southwark Crown Court, London, for the start of his trial yesterday.

A warrant was issued ordering Smith to turn up at court today- but when officers arrived at his home in Lewisham, south east London, they found a body. The cause of death is not yet known and a post-mortem examination will take place.

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

Scotland Yard said: “Police attended a private address in Effingham Road, Lewisham on Monday 28th October as a man had failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court.

“At approx 1420 officers entered the address and found the body of a man. A FME (forensic medical examiner) attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed.

“Whilst officers believe they know the identity of the deceased, they await confirmation of formal identification.”

Smith’s counsel Sandy Canavan had told the court she was “concerned” that her solicitor had been unable to contact him ahead of the trial as she had regularly been in touch with him. She told the court Smith was the sole carer for his elderly mother.

Operation Yewtree is the national investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Savile.

Scotland Yard has led the probe, and separated its inquiries into those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others. Smith was investigated under the “others” strand.

PA