Driver David Smith Found Dead After Missing Trial

A former driver charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile has been found dead.

David Smith, 66, was the first person to be charged by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Yewtree investigation.

He had pleaded not guilty in July to two counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency on a child following his arrest in December.

But he failed to turn up at Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday for the start of his trial, prompting police to go to his home in Effingham Road, Lewisham.

Scotland Yard said: "At approximately 14:20 officers entered the address and found the body of a man. A FME (forensic medical examiner) attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed."

A post mortem was being carried out on the body.

Smith's barrister, Sandy Canavan, had told the court she was "concerned" that her solicitor had been unable to contact him ahead of the trial as she had regularly been in touch with him.

She told the court Smith was the sole carer for his elderly mother.

Police have separated the Yewtree investigation into three parts, the first concerned with the actions of Savile, while the second concerns allegations against what has become known as 'Savile and others'.

Smith was investigated under the third strand, concerning accusations of sexual abuse unconnected to Savile, but made by people who came forward following publicity surrounding the Savile allegations.

Court documents said there was "no evidence to suggest any connection" between Smith and Savile, although the former "was contracted to work as a driver for the BBC in the relevant period".

The BBC, however, said it had not found any record of Smith working for the corporation.

"On searches carried out to date, we have not found any record of David Smith being employed by or working for the BBC. We have been assisting the police in relation to David Smith and will continue to do so," a spokesman said.

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