'Depraved' child sex offender lured kids by posing as teenager online and put up missing girls in hotel room

16 November 2022, 22:02

Smith was jailed for 12 years
Smith was jailed for 12 years. Picture: Alamy/Greater Manchester Police

By Will Taylor

A "depraved" 59-year-old man who posed as a teenager and plied girls with alcohol to abuse them was caught after two missing girls he was putting up in a hotel bravely managed to stop him.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Colin Smith has been jailed for 12 years for a string of child sex offences that police described as "abhorrent".

He was found to have devices that contained evidence of a number of grooming victims.

There was also evidence of possession and distribution of indecent images of children and extreme pornography.

He was putting up two teenage girls who were reported as missing in a hotel in Bury in August 2020.

The girls managed to contact a person they trusted who then told police.

Smith had left the hotel room but returned to find officers ready to arrest him.

Read more: Builder admits killing his ex with an axe before dumping her body in a pre-dug grave

Greater Manchester Police said he was "a calculated individual" who posed as a teenager online, using a number of social media accounts and aliases to lure his victims into putting their trust in him.

Police then searched devices belonging to him where the indecent images were discovered.

In all, he admitted 11 charges against five victims at Minshull Crown Court on Tuesday.

These included sexual activity with a child, meeting a child after sexual grooming, and making and distributing indecent images of children.

Read more: Boy, 14, dies days after Newcastle stabbing, with 14 people arrested so far, as locals beg teens to 'Drop the Knives'

Greater Manchester Police's Detective Chief Inspector Ian Partington said: "Firstly, I would like to publicly recognise the courage of the two young girls who were staying in the hotel room – they made contact with someone they could trust, which enabled us to safeguard them and, ultimately, secure this prosecution.

"Smith's behaviour towards the victims was nothing short of sickening – in some cases, he plied them with alcohol in order to commit abhorrent and depraved offences.

"His prosecution and imprisonment should reassure our communities about our commitment to fighting this type of crime and keeping vulnerable people safe."

Constable Carly Baines, of the force's Sexual Crime Unit, said: "Today's sentencing is the result of a long, meticulous investigation by our complex safeguarding hub.

"Smith's behaviour is deplorable and completely unacceptable, and I hope this result sends a stark warning to offenders that these behaviours will not be tolerated by GMP.

"I would like to thank the victims for their resilience and bravery in reporting this incident to the police and giving us the opportunity to put a dangerous and depraved man in prison, and I hope this sentencing will now allow the victims to be able to move forward with their lives."