Ex-BBC presenter is jailed for 22 years over child sex abuse

A SCOTS-born former BBC Radio and Radio Clyde presenter has been jailed for 22 years after sexually abusing seven boys over two decades.

Michael Souter, ­originally from East Dunbartonshire, was found guilty of 26 offences.

He was sentenced for indecent assault, indecency with a child, serious sexual offences and seven counts of possessing indecent images of children at Norwich Crown Court.

Police said the 60-year-old, of Norfolk, was responsible for “one of the worst cases of prolonged child abuse” officers had dealt with.

More alleged victims are being interviewed by police since coming forward following Souter’s guilty verdict last month.

Judge Mark Lucraft, QC, said there were others not covered by the counts in this trial who were also abused by Souter.

He described Souter’s attempts to claim that the allegations were fabricated as pathetic.

He said: “The childhood of many of your victims was destroyed and their lives blighted.

“You exploited your position to groom each of them.

“You took hundreds of photographs of boys in shorts and were the only person in this court who could not see these pictures for what they were.”

He said Souter displayed an “ongoing sexual obsession with boys” and posed a risk of further offending on his release from prison.

Souter was ordered to pay legal costs of £14,694 and may be forced to sell properties at home and abroad.

Prosecutor Andrew Shaw said Souter had mounted a cynical defence in the face of overwhelming evidence.

He had denied the offences, saying they were concocted, and that police had invented evidence as part of a conspiracy to smear his name, a defence he maintains.

One victim said in a statement: “Souter’s insistence that he is innocent and that this is all lies and conspiracy has not allowed full closure.”

Souter’s barrister, Andrew Hill, offered little by way of mitigation as he was protesting his innocence.

The broadcaster was first arrested by police in 1993 but, because of a lack of evidence against him, he continued abusing boys for another six years.

It emerged during the trial that Souter used his celebrity status to abuse society’s most vulnerable.

Souter’s catalogue of abuse began in 1979 when he worked at BBC Radio Norfolk.

During the 1980s and 1990s, ­Souter’s abuse escalated as he took up senior positions within the community, including as a Scout leader and social services youth mentor.

Two of the boys were repeatedly abused over five years.

His arrest was a result of the impact of the revelation former Top of the Pops presenter Jimmy Savile was a sex abuser.

Detective Inspector Paul Brown said: “While I wouldn’t compare Souter and Savile directly, both used their celebrity to cultivate a certain respectable image and both cases have served to highlight that social attitudes are changing and child abuse will be investigated rigorously by police.

“We have certainly seen an increase in people coming forward and hopefully convictions like this can continue to give people the confidence to do so.”

The court heard he was a ­deviant who was obsessed with young boys in shorts and uniform.

Mr Hill said his client’s ­distinguished career in the Navy and in the media “now comes to nought”.

He said: “His position prior to these matters – the charitable works and many other local good works – will all be forgotten.”