A PAEDOPHILE pensioner could die behind bars after being jailed for 10 years for a series of sickening sex crimes.
Edward Smith treated his young victim to sweets and lemonade and continued to groom her by providing cheap alcohol.
The retired bus driver bought the schoolgirl’s continued silence by threatening that she would be taken into care if she ever told anyone else about the abuse.
Smith, 75, who is now in a wheelchair and suffers from ill health, was yesterday told by a judge that he had “directly affected” his victim’s attitude towards life.
His lawyer, Ian Hudson, told Teesside Crown Court that Smith accepted that he had done wrong, and knew he was unlikely ever to be a free man again.
“He has said to me this morning, I quote, ‘my life is over, I want to die in jail’,” said Mr Hudson.
“It may well be, in view of his advanced years, that he does. He has expressed his remorse, he has put forward guilty pleas and he has avoided any further distress that the victim would have had under cross-examination.”
In a recent interview with a probation officer, Smith, a former soldier and miner, said: “I know what I did was wrong and they should throw the book at me.”
At an earlier crown court hearing, he pleaded guilty to three specimen charges of rape and two of indecency with a child, and a count of attempted rape.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said Smith lured the youngster to his home and went on to ply her with booze on regular occasions, indecently touched her and had sex with her.
Mr Newcombe said the abuse stopped when the girl realised what was happening was wrong and stopped going to the house.
Smith, of Morton Square, Peterlee, will be on the sex offenders’ register for life and banned from having unsupervised contact with under-18s should he be released.