A former textiles worker who sexually abused a young boy was jailed for two years today.
William Smith’s behaviour was described as “vile” by a sheriff.
A court heard he struck while he was supposed to be babysitting his victim, who is now in his mid-20s, when the boy was as young as seven.
From then until his victim was ten, he targeted the child while he was sleeping, and also exposed himself.
The trial heard his victim had three times attempted suicide because of what Smith did to him.
Smith also abused a young girl, then aged just five to eight, creeping into a room where she was also sleeping, sitting on her bed and abusing her.
The incidents took place at a house in Grangemouth between 1993 and 2004.
Smith, now 66, of Langlees, who used to work at the former Racke’s textile factory in Grangemouth making clothes for Marks and Spencer, denied using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour, but a jury at Falkirk Sheriff Court took just two hours to find him guilty.
Their decision was unanimous.
In a victim impact statement submitted to the court before sentencing, the victim said: “Smith shattered my childhood dreams, ruined my childhood and took away my innocence.
“He led me to want to take my own life.
“I have grown up with a fundamental lack of trust.
“I suffer anxiety attacks and vivid flashbacks of my time with this vile man.
“My poor mental health is down to the actions of William Smith. He did this to me. He knew what he was doing.”
He said he had no doubt that Smith had only pleaded not guilty to enjoy “one final power play” on himself and the other victim.
He added: “I was overwhelmed with relief when the jury found him guilty.”
Simon Hutchison, defending, said Smith now had significant health problems including heart disease and heart failure.
Mr Hutchison said: “He’s on a huge amount of medication.
“He’s a first offender, he has nothing else outstanding and nothing else since these allegations.”
In addition to the two-year jail sentence, Sheriff John Mundy ordered Smith to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.
He said: “These are very serious offences which have had an impact on the victims.
“That was clear from their evidence.
“The young man, as he now is, was particularly badly affected.
“Having regard to the seriousness of these offences, which were vile offences, I have come to the conclusion that the only option is a custodial sentence.”
Smith, who is very deaf and walks with a stick, listened on a large black headphone set as sentence was pronounced.
He showed neither surprise nor emotion before being led to the cells.
Smith’s victim welcomed the sentence.
He said: “It has given me the closure we’ve needed. Seeing him walk out of court a free man would have been a huge blow.
“He took away my independence as a little boy.
“I hope he now knows what that feels like.”
He added: “I really hope today’s sentencing encourages other victims to come forward.
“I’d encourage anyone who’s suffered any type of abuse to come forward and report it.”