Monday, 31 March 2014

Woman Claims Top Swimming Coach Molested Her As A 14 Year-Old

Smith: Denies Claims

A woman, who was sexually abused by the Scottish swimming coach she had a crush on as an under-age teen, was inspired by victims of Jimmy Savile to report him four decades later, a court heard today.

Hugh Hamilton Smith, 76, of Southbank Court, Easter Park Drive, Cramond, Edinburgh first approached the 14 year-old in a changing room cubicle then abused her in his car and at his home, the jury were told.

He has pleaded not guilty at Croydon Crown Court to seven counts of indecently assaulting the teenager between August 1, 1973 and May 31, 1975 while the head coach of Beckenham Ladies Swimming Club.

The complainant, now aged 55 years-old, was a keen competitive swimmer and trained daily at the now-demolished Beckenham Grove Baths and at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace, south-east London under the tutelage of Smith

"I was so naive, I was in love with him and I thought he was in love with me," she told the court in a video interview. "I wanted to do what he wanted, I wanted to please him I suppose.

"He was an attractive man, quite charming, with a twinkle in his eye and a nice smile. He was fun.

"He was quite tanned, he had been an international swimmer, I think, and was quite fit and looked strong."

Prosecutor Mr. Mark Halsey told the jury the abuse began a few months after the death of the girl's father with comments about her being "well developed" and "top heavy" after a false start in a relay race.

The woman claims she was a regular baby-sitter for Smith, who during the year-long abuse told her: "Don't tell anyone about this." 

At the time Smith - known as 'Hammie' - was married with two young sons, but this didn't stop him walking into the ladies changing room when the girl was in there, the court heard.

"He came into my cubicle and he kissed me," she said. "I had a bit of a crush on him, I suppose.

"I looked up to him. I was a bit in love with him in a teenage way."

She said Smith regularly gave her lifts in his white Volvo and would listen to Radio Two.

"I remember him singing along and looking at me and smiling," she explained, recalling one particular incident.

"He touched my breasts and then he would get me to put my hand on his penis," adding that Smith also fondled her between her legs and asked: "Was that better than when you do it yourself?"

There was a similar incident in Smith's kitchen, where the girl would have breakfast after early-morning training, the jury heard.

"I was wearing my school uniform and he put his hand up my skirt. Once he pressed so hard he lifted me off the ground."

The defendant took her to his bedroom, when his wife was away, and oral sex took place it is claimed. "I remember feeling that I did not want to be doing this."

Smith organised a weekend's training at the National Sports Centre and tried to get into the girl's room, she recalled.

"He was banging on the door and seemed quite cross. The door was locked."

She says the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted her to come forward after believing the events were too long ago and nobody would be interested in her complaint.

"People were coming forward daily with details of thirty, forty years ago. It was not too late, I would be listened to, the climate had changed.

"If I didn't say anything it's as if it didn't happen. It might have happened to other people and I might help other people."

Mr. Halsy said Smith was arrested and quizzed by police. "He said she may have had breakfast with him after training, but denied doing anything inappropriate.

"He said he had never had sexual relations with a girl under sixteen years-old."

Trial continues...........  

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