A FILM enthusiast accused of sexually assaulting two boys claims he believed his actions were normal after being abused as a child, a court heard. 

Michael Geoffrey Smith, now 66, claims he was the subject of nine years of abuse which started when he was eight, he told jurors on day five of his trial at Guildford Crown Court.

His defence claims that when Smith told his father he was suffering he was "given a good hiding" and was "led to believe that it was normal". 

It comes as Smith, of Madrid Road in Guildford, is facing historic charges of abusing two boys in Basingstoke during the 1980s. 

Smith, previously of Freemantle Close in Oakrdige, is accused of abusing the children who attended a film club he was running at the time. 

Defending Smith, his solicitor said Smith committed his first act of sexual abuse against a child when he was 16, shortly after he claimed he endured abuse himself.

However, Smith said what happened to him did not excuse his behaviour, which saw him convicted for child abuse in the 1970s and 1990s.

The former railway worker, who describes himself as "gullible and unhappy" at that time, claimed he left school being unable to read, write and tie his shoelaces.

He alleged it was at this point he started having sexual attraction to children, adding: "To me it was normal. What was happening to me, I didn't really believe I was doing anything wrong at that time.

"I was told it was a normal thing."

After pleading guilty to child sex offences in 1973, he claimed he would suppress his interest in children by masturbating, before admitting that, in the early 1990s, "masturbation wasn't enough".

The court heard how he would "manipulate" children into being alone with him, by becoming friendly with their parents.

Prosecutor Fern Russell highlighted how this was similar to the account given by the second of Mr Smith's alleged victims, saying: "That is exactly what [he] said you did."

"I know I have a terrible, terrible past, but this did not happen," Mr Smith said during cross exaimination. 

The court heard how he got a job for British Rail assisting surveyors at Wimbledon in the late 1970s, and moved into his maisonette in Freemantle Close, Oakridge, in late 1980.

As previously heard in courrt, the first victim claimed Smith lived alone at the time of his abuse.

Smith challenged this through his defence and said he was certain he had lodgers at the time the abuse was alleged to have taken place. 

Smith highlighted a previous offence, which he was jailed for in 1995.

Smith claimed he was taking a bath when his childhood abuser lifted a child into the tub with him and abuse took place. 

He claimed that he called the police to report this offence, as well as others, because he "needed to sort [his] life out" because he "couldn't stop" abusing children, and that on his release from prison he went to his doctor to seek treatment.

The man, who was born in Basingstoke and lived most of his life in the town, denies even knowing the two complainants in this case, saying that if he had abused them, he would have confessed to it in the 1990s.

Ms Russell told the court that as Mr Smith could not remember his victims in the 1970s, there is reason to believe that he could not remember his victims of the 1980s.

"It's not the same as admitting this offending in the 70s or the 90s," she continued. "The culture is very different now, and you know it.

"It is viewed differently than it used to be, and the reason you don't want to admit this now, is by limiting your damage in the 90s you thought you got away with all your child abuse.

"You put your interests above theirs didn't you?"

Mr Smith denies all charges. The trial continues.