DYFED-Powys Police has praised the determination and strength of victims of non-recent sexual abuse that has today led to the perpetrator receiving a 28 year prison sentence. He will serve a minimum of 21 years in prison.
The testimonies of four victims – one male and three females – led to John Smith, formerly known as Matthew Griffiths, aged 47, of Neyland, being found guilty of all 28 charges through a trial.
He was found guilty of: six counts of indecent assault on a male; six counts of indecent with a child; four counts of indecent assault; seven counts of buggery; two counts of sexual assault of a child under 13; possession of extreme pornographic images; making indecent photographs of children and possession of prohibited pornographic images of children.
He appeared before Swansea Crown Court today (Friday, June 29) for sentencing.
The investigation began in 2014 when a male victim came forward to report being sexually abused by Smith. The abuse started in 1992 at the age of eight.
In 2015 a second victim came forward reporting sexual abuse when she was aged 11.
Smith was then charged with 17 offences and appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts.
After seeing his name and the nature of the offences in a local newspaper, a further two female victims came forward to report sexual abuse. One victim was abused between the ages of 11 to 13 in 1999 and 2001. The other victim reported a sexual assault in 2005 when she was 11-years-old.
There was no connection between the first two victims and the second two victims.
In November 2017 a charging decision was made and he appeared in Swansea Crown Court charged with a further 11 offences. The case was brought to trial on May 29, 2018.
Officer in charge of the case, DC Lisa Roberts, dedicated eight months to this investigation wanting to secure a conviction for the victims.
DC Roberts said: “I have dedicated a huge amount of time and effort in this investigation. However, this is nothing compared to what the victims went through and worth every second because it wasn’t me that got him to court.
“The resilience, strength and courage of the victims was outstanding and without them and their commitment through some very demanding and stressful times we simply wouldn’t have had the result we had.
“I personally would like to thank the brave victims for coming forward and pursuing this case after what has been a long and complex investigation.”
Detective Inspector Cameron Ritchie said: “I commend the efforts of the officers involved in securing the conviction and sentence of this offender.
“Smith’s actions will have a lifelong effect on our four victims and their bravery is commendable. It is so important that survivors have the confidence to come forward and report these crimes no matter how much time has passed.
“I hope anyone else who has experienced similar abuse at any stage of their life can find courage from this case to see that all reports will be taken seriously by Dyfed-Powys Police and fully investigated.”
If you have been a victim of non-recent child sexual abuse, or abuse that is happening now, report it to Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101 and ask to speak to an officer in confidence. You will be listened to and you will be taken seriously. An initial report can also be made online via our website: https://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/en/contact-us/report-an-incident/.
Regardless of whether you choose to report the crime, Goleudy Victim and Witness Service can provide you with further support and assistance. Call 0300 1232996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Victims of child sexual abuse are also encouraged to think about sharing their experience with The Truth Project, which is part of the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse cases (IICSA). It was set up in 2015 to investigate organisations and institutions that have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
By sharing their experiences, victims and survivors make an important contribution to the work of the Inquiry and their experiences will feed into and influence the findings and recommendations. Visit www.truthproject.org.uk for more information.