The first person to be charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile took his own life by a deliberate drug overdose, an inquest heard yesterday.
Chauffeur David Smith, 67, was found dead at his home after failing to turn up at Southwark Crown Court in London for the start of his trial on October 28.
A warrant was issued ordering Smith to turn up at court the following day - but when officers arrived at his home in Lewisham, London, they found his body.
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Dr Peter Jerreat told the inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court that the cause of death was drug intoxication.
Senior Coroner Dr Andrew Harris said the case contained all the "ingredients" to prove he killed himself. He said: "I am satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt the ingredients are found and accordingly I should deliver a conclusion that he took his own life."
The coroner said he had "deliberately taken a fatal combination" of drugs. Smith had faced two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child, and one of buggery, all relating to a 12-year-old boy, between June 1 and July 21 1984.
Smith was a prolific sex offender whose first conviction was in 1966. He had 22 convictions for sexual offences against young boys.
Court documents from the criminal case said there was "no evidence to suggest any connection" between Smith and Savile, though the former "was contracted to work as a driver for the BBC in the relevant period".
The corporation reported that in the latest court case it was alleged that Smith met his victim at a swimming pool and invited him back to his flat, where he sexually abused him.
He also took the boy to visit the BBC studios at White City in London. The boy claimed he was indecently assaulted on the journey.