Grangemouth man guilty of sex assaults

Smith was found guilty after trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court
Smith was found guilty after trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court

A predatory paedophile who trawled online dating websites to find children to abuse is facing jail.

Sick James Smith’s plan was to find vulnerable single mums – then use the relationship to get close to their kids.

He used the Plenty of Fish website to track down potential targets and used a host of different identities including Steven Smith and Richard Noble to allow him multiple accounts on the site.

But all this was just a front to meet youngsters he later subjected to vile sexual assaults.

His perverted scheme allowed him to target two innocent victims including a five-year-old girl he assaulted outside her primary school.

Smith, from Grangemouth, began talking to one woman after messaging her and arranging to meet after she attended T in the Park in July 2012.

They met in Falkirk before he spent the night at her house and began a relationship with her.

He was then introduced to her four-year-old son who he later subjected to a sick sex attack.

The relationship broke down in early 2013, but the boy later told his dad Smith had assaulted him and the police were called in.

Smith (32) was arrested and bailed on the condition he stay away from children, but started another relationship in 2014 with a woman from Motherwell and abused her daughter.

Smith denied two allegations of sexual assault between January 2012 and 2015 and stood trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court last week - but a jury took just 20 minutes to convict him.

The children gave evidence by video link.

The five-year-old told the court he had molested her in a car as he dropped her off at school.

She said: “He would say ‘tickle tickle’. He done that three times. I was sad and my mum was crying and said he was going to get the jail.”

The mother of the four-year-old boy said: “I left him to watch my son so I could go to work. I had no reason to think he would do what he did to my son.”

Sheriff Thomas Millar deferred sentence on Smith for background reports but placed him on the sex offenders register.