April 24 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Monday, January 13, 2014
A disgraced former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter who was exposed as a “deviant sexual abuser of young boys” after being found guilty of a series of sexual abuse against seven victims spanning more than 20 years intends to lodge an appeal against his convictions and sentence, it has emerged.
Michael Souter, 60, of Low Bungay Road, Loddon, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in October last year after he was found guilty, following a trial lasting more than five weeks, of 19 counts of historic child sex abuse against seven different boys aged between 11 and 16, between 1979 and 1999.
Souter, who denied all counts, was also convicted of a further seven counts relating to the making and possession of indecent images, not guilty of one count of possession of an indecent image of a child while the jury could not reach a verdict on another count.
But following his conviction it is understood Souter has lodged an application to appeal both his convictions and his sentence with the criminal division of the Court of Appeal in London.
A spokesman confirmed an appeal application had been received although no date had yet been set for a hearing.
Judge Mark Lucraft, who sentenced Souter, branded some of his evidence as “bizarre” and his attempts to blame his victims, the police and Judge Lucraft himself of conspiring against him as “pathetic”.
He described Souter’s crimes as “a most appalling catalogue of abuse of the grossest kind”.
In sentencing Souter Judge Lucraft said: “You used your status working for the BBC, working for the local football club and with the Scouting organisation to meet, groom and then to abuse these boys.
“Many of your victims spoke about your status as a local celebrity - introducing them to footballers and to well-known people - taking them out to places they had never been to before. Many of them spoke about how freely available alcohol was in your home.”
He had been described as “a deviant sexual abuser of young boys, particularly boys in uniform and those wearing shorts” by prosecutor Andrew Shaw.
The former broadcaster had vowed to clear his name after being charged with the offences and insisted none of the events happened and that the victims had falsely accused him or colluded against him.
He also accused the police of putting indecent images on his computer after he was arrested in 2011 and even at one point during the trial accused both Judge Lucraft and Mr Shaw.
But the jury of nine men and three women took just four hours to find him guilty.
Judge Lucraft said: “The evidence against you on these counts was overwhelming and the jury rightly rejected your pathetic attempts to blame the victims and others.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Norfolk Constabulary’s senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Paul Brown, said: “This case demonstrates the importance of victims coming forward, no matter how long ago their experiences happened.
“Souter exploited his local celebrity status and connections to gain access to children, and this also provided him with the perfect cover for his offending as he appeared to be an upstanding member of the community whom no-one would challenge.”
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For previous stories on Souter, click on the links below: