Scarborough paedophile told he deserved to 'die in jail' to be released this month

Robert Henry Smith
Robert Henry Smith

A Scarborough paedophile who was told by a judge he deserved to die in jail is to be released early.

Robert Smith will be out on the streets of Yorkshire before Christmas, despite the judge who sentenced him saying his crimes were the worst of their type he had ever encountered.

Smith, of Cross Street, was jailed at York Crown Court in 2006 after admitting 42 sex offences, including the rape of children between 1954 to 1984.

During sentencing Judge Paul Hoffman said: "This is the worst case of its type I have ever encountered in nearly 42 years of criminal practice.

"It stands apart in scale and sheer wickedness and callous disregard for victims' feelings. It is a case of prolonged and insatiable depravity."

Judge Hoffman said there was no case "that's as bad as this one" in law book Thomas's Sentencing Encyclopaedia and if Smith died in jail it would be no more than he deserved.

The 42 offences admitted by Smith were against 21 children, but he had admitted to a probation officer many more sexual offences against children.

The offences were said to have happened in various places in and around Scarborough, including a filleting shed on Scarborough harbour, where Smith used to work.

David Brooke, prosecuting, said all the victims were "absolutely terrified" of Smith and many had developed nervous personalities, including stammers and stutters, and one had suffered a nervous breakdown.

The Ministry of Justice will move Smith to Leeds on his release, where he will be forced to wear a GPS tag and sign the sex offenders register.

Victims had previously been told each time Smith was up for parole, but last month they received a phone call without warning telling them his release had been rubber-stamped, which was confirmed last week.

Victim Support Leeds told victims last week: 'I can now tell you that the offender will be released before Christmas. He will be escorted from the prison to approved premises (probation hostel) by the police. All the licence conditions are in place.'

The Ministry of Justice said they do not comment on individual prisoners.

A spokesman added: 'Public protection is our priority. Sex offenders on licence are subject to a strict set of conditions, which may include preventing them from contacting their victims and banning them from entering certain areas, as well as being subject to the sex offenders register.

'If they fail to comply with these conditions they can be returned to prison.'