Three years in jail for man who abused children

James Smith was jailed at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
James Smith was jailed at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

A man who abused children after trawling online dating websites to find vulnerable single mothers has been jailed for three years.

James Smith used website Plenty of Fish to track down women before starting relationships with them.

He used different identities, including Steven Smith and Richard Noble, as a front to access children, whom he later subjected to sexual assaults - including three attacks on a five-year-old girl outside her primary school.

Smith (32), of Cultenhove Crescent, Grangemouth, arranged to meet one woman in Falkirk 2012. Almost immediately he began a relationship with her and later

subjected her four-year-old son to a sex attack.

He started another relationship in 2014 with a woman from Motherwell and abused her daughter.

Smith was found guilty after trial at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

He was put on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and will be on licence for two years when released from prison.

Defence lawyer Billy Hendry said Smith insisted he was innocent and suggested, given he had no background of “significant” offending, an alternative to jail could be imposed.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Thomas Millar told Smith: “I cannot deal with this in any way other than a custodial sentence.

“You had actively befriended these mothers and formed good relationships with them before carrying out these offences.

“These are serious charges involving children as young as four. Charge three seems to be a deliberate flouting of the bail order which was in place to protect children, and you thought you were above that.”