August 2012

Hotel manager Stephen Smith, 49, jailed for raping young girls

A HOTEL manager and former paratrooper who raped and sexually abused two young girls when he was in his teens has been jailed for six years.

Ex-soldier Stephen Smith, 49, was found guilty by a jury at Gloucester Crown Court almost a year ago of 10 charges of rape and five of indecent assault of the two girls, who were aged between six and 12 at the time.

He could not be sentenced at the time of his conviction because he had another trial pending – this time alleging indecency against a young boy. A jury found him not guilty of those allegations.

Judge Jamie Tabor said had he been sentencing a teenager for identical offences carried out in recent years, Smith would have received a sentence in double figures. “But I am dealing now with a man of almost 50 who took advantage of a young girl when you were 14 and she was about half your age,” he said.

“I saw the two women concerned when they gave evidence. They were obviously affected by what you did but I did not hear from them, or observe myself, any special trauma that they suffered at your hands.”

The judge took into account that throughout much of his life Smith, originally from Stonehouse, had been a “wastrel” and a “scallywag” but in recent years had been making something of his life. At the time of his arrest he was working as a hotel manager in Blackpool.

At the time of his arrest he was working as a hotel manager in Blackpool.

At Smith’s trial last year the court heard one of his victims was repeatedly raped and abused by him. The other was indecently assaulted by him when she was under 10.

Tana Adkin, defending, said Smith had joined the Parachute Regiment as a 17-year-old but left during training and got married.

However, he went back to the Army in his 20s and served with the Glosters but was discharged with a knee injury.

After that he wasted part of his life on drinking and gambling. He got married again and had three children, with one of his daughters dying of leukaemia in 1992.

In recent years, she said, he had worked his way up as a cook, barman and cleaner in hotels to become a manager. He had met a new partner nine years ago who was standing by him and he hopes to marry in due course.

As well as passing a six-year jail term Judge Tabor ruled that Smith must sign the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.