Norwich: Former BBC Radio Norfolk Presenter Guilty Of Child Sex Offences

Michael Souter

A former BBC presenter has been found guilty of a string of child sex offences spanning two decades, a court spokeswoman said.

Ex-BBC Norfolk and former Radio Clyde broadcaster Michael Souter has been convicted of a series of sexual offences against seven boys aged between 11 and 16 between 1979 and 1999.

The 60-year-old, of Loddon, Norfolk, has also been found guilty of further counts of making and possessing indecent images of children.

A Norwich Crown Court spokeswoman said that the former broadcaster has been found guilty of a total 26 charges.

Jurors have not reached a verdict on one count of indecent assault on a male and have also cleared him of one charge of possessing an indecent photograph of a child, she said.

Prosecutors described Souter, who was also involved in the Scouts and a social services youth mentoring scheme, as a ``sexual deviant'' who was obsessed with young boys in shorts and uniform.

During the five week trial, prosecutor Andrew Shaw told jurors that Souter used his celebrity to abuse society's most vulnerable.

Mr Shaw told the court: ``He worked in radio and television and was something of a local celebrity.

``The significance of his work and his involvement with the scouts and social services, is that these three roles brought Mr Souter into regular contact with pliable young boys and very often pliable young boys who were among society's most vulnerable.

``We say Mr Souter is a deviant sexual abuser of young boys, particularly boys in uniform and those wearing shorts.''

Souter had denied the offences saying that he was the victim of a conspiracy in which allegations against him were made up.

Originally from Scotland, he worked as a producer and presenter in both commercial and BBC radio since the mid-1970s. He had previously presented for Radio Clyde.

Since 1989 he has worked as a freelance broadcaster and had run a media relations consultancy.

Mr Shaw said mistakes may have been made by the authorities in the past, but added: ``As we have seen in recent high profile cases, victims often only tell what has happened to them when they are ready to.''

The court heard that on one occasion Souter had plied an victim, who had a casual job at BBC Norfolk, with alcohol. The boy passed out and woke to find his trousers pulled down and Souter, who had not been drinking, molesting him.

Another victim was indecently touched by Souter while at a scout camp, Mr Shaw said.

He took boys on trips to burger restaurants and theme parks and used his links with Norwich City Football Club to invite them to watch matches at Carrow Road, the court heard.

In a statement, a BBC spokesperson said The crimes that Michael Souter has been found guilty of today are truly shocking and the BBC condemns them in strongest possible terms.  Michael Souter has not worked for the BBC since the early 1990s.