Norfolk

Michael Souter: Ex-BBC DJ jailed for sex attacks on boys

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Media captionMichael Souter is still protesting his innocence, his barrister said

A former BBC radio presenter has been jailed for 22 years for sex attacks on boys.

Michael Souter, 60, of Loddon, Norfolk, was convicted earlier this month of 19 sexual assaults on seven boys aged between 11 and 16.

Norwich Crown Court heard the offences took place between 1979 and 1999.

Souter, who worked for BBC Radio Norfolk in the 1980s, was a Venture Scouts leader, a mentor to young people and had been allowed to adopt a child.

The court heard Souter, who also worked for Radio Clyde, had used his local celebrity status to abuse his victims.

The jury also found him guilty of seven counts of making and possessing indecent images of under-18s.

After the six-week trial, detectives revealed they were investigating further allegations of abuse against the defendant.

'Lives destroyed'

Judge Mark Lucraft QC described Souter's attempts to claim the allegations were fabricated as "pathetic".

"The childhood of many of your victims was destroyed and their lives blighted," he said.

"You exploited your position to groom each of them. You took hundreds of photographs of boys in shorts and were the only person in this court who could not see these pictures for what they were."

The judge said Souter displayed an "ongoing sexual obsession with boys" and posed a risk of further offending on his release from prison.

The court had heard he was also been investigated in 1993 and 2002, but no charges were brought.

The defendant, who has two properties in Spain and one in Norfolk, was banned indefinitely from working with children.

He was ordered to pay legal costs of almost £14,700, later corrected by the judge to almost £18,700.

Andrew Shaw, for the prosecution, said Souter mounted a "cynical defence" in the face of overwhelming evidence.

He had denied the offences saying they were concocted, and that police had invented evidence as part of a conspiracy to smear his name.

'Repeatedly offended'

Souter's barrister, Andrew Hill, said he could offer little in mitigation because his client had continued to protest his innocence.

"His position prior to these matters - the charitable works and many other local good works - will all be forgotten," he said.

The senior investigating officer in the case, Det Insp Paul Brown, of Norfolk Police, said: "This case demonstrates the importance of victims coming forward, no matter how long ago their experiences happened.

"Souter exploited his local celebrity status and connections to gain access to children, and this also provided him with the perfect cover for his offending as he appeared to be an upstanding member of the community whom no-one would challenge.

"Once the investigation started to uncover more about his past, we found he had repeatedly offended and displayed extremely concerning behaviour online."

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