A FILM enthusiast from Basingstoke who groomed and sexually assaulted two schoolboys in the 1980s has been jailed for eight years.

Michael Geoffrey Smith befriended the parents of one of the boys to convince them he could be trusted to be alone with him, Recorder James Wood said when giving sentence.

He judged that Smith had "caused him grave, permanent and serious psychological harm and impacted greatly on his life", labelling it "sick sexual abuse".

As reported, Smith, who previously lived in Freemantle Close, Oakridge, had denied seven charges of sexual abuse relating to incidents in the 1980s, before being convicted by a jury.

Guildford Crown Court had heard how the 66-year-old, who was also convicted for similar offences in the 1970s and 1990s, ran a film club in the early 1980s in his maisonette for children in the estate to attend.

One of those who attended was the first victim. The court heard how Smith had taken the boy to London to do trainspotting, and on the train on the way back, forcibly kissed him.

Throughout the rest of the summer holidays, he sexually abused the primary school-age boy multiple times, claiming that he was teaching him about sex.

He said that it was "their secret" and that no one would believe the boy if he told them what had happened.

The victim, who appeared in court to read an impact statement on Friday afternoon, said that he had become addicted to alcohol and drugs because of the abuse: "Had Michael Smith not been in my life, I may have chosen my friends differently and not turned to substances.

"Intimacy is not in my life. I have had two wives over 14 years, and both of them have been starved of intimacy.

"As a result of all the abuse, it has caused me to attempt to take my own life on more than one occasion.

"What Mr Smith has done is create a person who doesn’t function, who sees himself as damaged goods."

"I grew up having a hatred to all authority, and I blamed them for letting this happen to me," he added in his statement. "In September 2017 I was diagnosed with PTSD.

"This is directly linked to what Mick did to me."

Smith, who was in his 20s at the time, had told the court during the trial that he was abused himself as a child.

His counsel, Ruby Salva, said: "Mr Smith confirms that from a young age, he and his twin had been used in a circle of paedophiles.

"That went on for a number of years. It appears, according to the [pre-sentence] report, that his father may well have been instrumental or certainly neglectful of what was going on."

Smith had denied the charges, saying that he would have remembered the boys and confessed to it in the 1990s, when he came forward to police and was subsequently sent to prison for four years.

After conviction, Ms Salva said, Smith, who during the trial lived at Madrid Road in Guildford, had still maintained his innocence whilst admitting he was a paedophile.

But Recorder Wood was not convinced by Smith's assertion that he was innocent: "I reject your claim you had no recollection of what you had done.

"You knew what you had done and persisted in your denial.

"In your trial, you took an overdose, and we lost most of two days. Thankfully, the attempt was not serious.

"Your refusal to admit your wrongdoing shows you are a long way from coming to terms with what your paedophile past has done.

"You insisted on [the victim] coming to this court to give evidence. He was clearly distressed by the allegations you instructed your counsel to put to him.

"It took him years to find the courage and confidence to come forward and speak publicly about what you did."

Recorder Wood sentenced Smith to eight years in prison, of which he must serve two thirds. The sentence, which had a starting point of 12 years, was reduced on the grounds of his deteriorating health and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on prisoners.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £3,250 of compensation to the victims, and a £149 victim surcharge.