PUBLISHED: 18:02 EST, 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 19:06 EST, 28 October 2013
Chauffeur: David Smith was found dead yesterday as he was due to stand trial for sex crimes
A former BBC driver was found dead yesterday as he was due to stand trial for sex crimes uncovered as part of the Jimmy Savile inquiry.
David Smith, 67, chauffeur to Savile and other celebrities during the 1980s is believed to have committed suicide on the eve of his court appearance.
Police were called to Smith’s address after receiving a court summons when he failed to appear for trial. When officers attended his home in Lewisham, south-east London, they found him dead.
Last night a spokesman said: ‘Police attended a private address in Effingham Road, Lewisham on Monday 28 October as a man had failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court today.
‘At approximately 2.20pm officers entered the address and found the body of a man. A forensic medical examiner attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed.
‘Whilst officers believe they know the identity of the deceased, they await confirmation of formal identification.’
A post mortem will take place in due course. Smith, of Effingham Road, Lewisham, had failed to turn up at Southwark Crown Court for the start of his trial yesterday.
He faced two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child, and one of buggery, all relating to a 12-year-old boy, between June 1 and July 21, 1984.
Probe: Smith was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile (pictured)
Smith’s counsel Sandy Canavan said earlier today her solicitor had been attempting to contact Smith without success.
She said: ‘He has been regularly in contact, I am concerned at the lack of contact. He is the sole carer for his very aged and very unwell mother, that may have affected why he’s not here today.’
Judge Alastair McCreath said: ‘He needs to be here, if his mother’s poorly or not.’
He issued a bench warrant, backed for bail, with the condition that he surrender to the court by 9.30am tomorrow morning, with the case to be listed for 10am.
Smith was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, the national investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Savile.
Scotland Yard has led the probe, and separated its inquiries into those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others. Smith has been investigated under the 'others' strand.