Ex-BBC presenter Michael Souter jailed for sex attacks on boys

Court heard Souter was a “predatory paedophile”, exploiting his position to groom children

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The Independent Online

A former BBC radio presenter has been jailed for 22 years after being found guilty of sex attacks on boys.

Described in court as a “predatory paedophile”, Michael Souter was convicted of 26 offences at Norwich Crown Court earlier this month – including 19 sexual assaults on boys aged between 11 and 16.

Norfolk Police said the former BBC Norfolk and Radio Clyde presenter was responsible for “one of the worst cases of prolonged child abuse” officers had ever dealt with.

He was also found guilty of seven counts of possessing indecent images of children, and the presiding judge said Souter was “the only person in this court who could not see these pictures for what they were”.

Souter has consistently maintained that all the allegations were made up by police in a campaign to smear his name, claims which Judge Mark Lucraft QC described as “pathetic”.

“The childhood of many of your victims was destroyed and their lives blighted,” the judge said.

“You exploited your position to groom each of them.”

He added that Souter displayed an “ongoing sexual obsession with boys” and posed a risk of further offending on his release from prison.

Souter will be banned indefinitely from working with children, and was ordered to pay legal costs of £14,694.

After the conviction, Norfolk Police confirmed they were investigating further allegations of abuse against Souter.

Souter's barrister, Andrew Hill, said that, because his client continued to protest his innocence, he could offer little by way of mitigation.

“His position prior to these matters - the charitable works and many other local good works - will all be forgotten when it comes to sentencing,” he added.

One victim said in a statement read to the court: “Souter's insistence that he is innocent and that this is all lies and conspiracy has not allowed full release and closure.”

The broadcaster was first arrested by police in 1993 but, because of a lack of evidence against him, he continued abusing boys for another six years.

During the trial, Mr Shaw told jurors that Souter used his celebrity status to abuse society's most vulnerable.

Originally from Scotland, Souter worked as a producer and presenter in both commercial and BBC radio since the mid-1970s.

He had previously presented for Radio Clyde.

Since 1989 he has worked as a freelance broadcaster and had run a media relations consultancy.

Souter's catalogue of abuse began in 1979 when he worked at BBC Radio Norfolk.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Souter's abuse escalated as he took up senior positions within the community, including as a Scout leader and social services youth mentor.

Two of the boys were “repeatedly abused” over five years.

Additional reporting by PA