BREAKING: Sheffield NHS mental health worker found guilty of rape

A Sheffield mental health worker who claimed he was ‘untouchable’ has been convicted of sexually abusing vulnerable girls as young as 13 after plying them with drink and drugs.

Owen Smith, 50, who lives in Sheffield city centre and is well-known in the Pitsmoor area, was convicted of offences against three teenagers following a week-long trial.

The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on eight of the nine counts Smith faced. He was found not guilty on one count.

Smith appeared to sway in the dock only to be held up by a dock officer as the verdicts were delivered.

Judge Sarah Wright told Smith that he faces a ‘lengthy custodial sentence’.

She said: “The one thing that does particularly concern me is the conviction of rape on a child at the age of 13.

“You have been convicted of a serious nature of offences and the sentence will be adjourned for the probation service to carry out a report.”

Smith, who works for the NHS, raped the first complainant on a number of occasions in the mid-1990s when she was just 13 years old - the first time after a party at his flat where she was given alcohol and cannabis.

He also had sex with her in front a disabled boy he was looking after.

His offences against the other two victims occurred in 2014, when one was 19 and the other 16.

Smith accepted in court having sexual contact with the two vulnerable girls - one who was addicted to legal highs and the other who lived in a children’s home - but claimed it had been consensual in both instances.

In relation to the second complainant, who had met the defendant through a mutual friend, the court was told Smith would tell the girl he was ‘untouchable and could get away with everything’.

The third victim was 16 years and was sexually assaulted by Smith after being locked in his bedroom.

He had met her after spotting the girl while driving his company car through Sheffield and pulling over to talk to her, getting her phone number and exchanging messages. The court also heard how Smith would use his work phone to contact his victims.

The now 17-year-old victim told the court the assault had occurred after he had given her an unknown substance to smoke that had made her feel ‘so tired I wanted to lay down and go to sleep.’

She was found by police the next morning in Smith’s bedroom after being reported missing.

When officers arrived, Smith initially claimed the girl had slept on the sofa before he started shouting at the 16-year-old ‘Nothing’s happened, tell them nothing’s happened’ in front of officers.

Smith admitted while giving evidence that he was ‘attracted to young ladies’ but denied he had done anything wrong.

His 13-year-old victim had told police that Smith had an intimate piercing at the time he abused her - something he denied in interview but later accepted in court that he did in fact have.

Smith, of Hawley Street, Sheffield city centre, was charged with five counts of rape, two counts of trafficking and two charges of sexual assault.

He was found guilty of five counts of rape, two counts of sexual assault and one count of trafficking within the UK.

Smith was found not guilty of one count of trafficking within the UK.

Sentencing was adjourned until May and Smith was remanded in custody.