December 5 2013 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime Correspondent
Thursday, October 17, 2013
When the trial at Norwich Crown Court opened more than five weeks ago prosecutor Andrew Shaw told the jury Michael Souter was a “sexual deviant who is obsessed with boys in shorts”.
Over the past five weeks Mr Shaw has systematically set about ensuring the jury are sure, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Souter was guilty.
In opening the case Mr Shaw said the significance of Souter’s involvement, not only with the BBC, but with the scouting movement and with Norfolk County Council where he volunteered as a mentor for vulnerable young men, was 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”.
Mr Shaw said Souter was a “deviant sexial abuser of young boys, particularly boys in uniform and those wearing shorts” and told the jury that while the defendant denied any wrongdoing the likelihood of seven men born in three different decades all deciding to invent “spurious and wicked” allegations were nil.
One by one Mr Shaw called on each victim to take to the witness box to talk publically, in many cases for the first time, about what this man who they had trusted and looked up to had subjected them to.
The youngest victim was 11 at the time the offences are said to have taken place and the oldest 16 but each and every one, now adults, entered the witness box and cast aside their previous alleigance to Souter to describe in agonising detail the assaults they were subjected to.
The prosecution also called during the course of the trial a number of other men who, in their younger years, had concerning contact with Souter.
The evidence given by these men, while not victims in the case, helped the prosecution build a detailed picture of Souter’s behaviour and background with his troubling obsession with boys in shorts and uniforms, spanking chatrooms and fantasy stories all being revealed.
The jury were told, at great length, of Souter’s obsession with chat rooms where he would act out his fantasies with other like-minded people where they would role play under false names with their alter egos dressed as boys or schoolmasters.
During the trial Souter took great exception to Mr Shaw’s questioning and administered an astonishing verbal lashing to Mr Shaw - and even the judge - which led to a bizarre aopology to both the following day.
The reality is that Souter was cracking. He knew only too well his lies had been exposed for the world to see and it was only a matter of time before his judgement day was to come.
By the time Mr Shaw finished his closing speech on Monday, during which he described Souter as a “child sex abuser of the most serious kind” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” there was more than an air of inevitability about today’s outcome.