Walsall Paedophile Priest Victim Reveals How He Faced His Tormentor in Court

By Jonny Greatrex
Sunday Mercury
January 22, 2012

A GRANDAD who was abused by a paedophile priest when he was a child has told how he gained the courage to give evidence against his abuser at court.

Geoff Smith was targeted by evil James Robinson when the convicted cleric was living in Walsall in the 1960s.

Geoff, aged 61, kept the abuse he suffered secret for 50 years.

He broke his silence after reading newspaper reports that Robinson had been extradited from the US to finally face the child sex charges against him in August 2009.

Now Geoff has revealed how he faced his abuser in court and saw him jailed for 21 years for his sick crimes against six boys, some as young as 10.

"I vividly remember standing outside the court door awaiting my turn," he said.

"It seemed like it was a TV episode of a crime novel.

"At no point was I scared, worried or afraid of facing my demons.


"I don't know why. I was not at all bothered about seeing Robinson.

"He can't hurt me now. He did then, but not now.

"I was ready to let the fight begin."

Geoff grew up in Aldridge and spent his childhood playing football in the street with his pals.

He was targeted by Robinson, an apprentice priest who had a summer job at a nearby butchers, after going to buy meat for his mum.

Robinson offered to take Geoff on trips on his Triumph Bonneville bike.

But the priest used the seemingly friendly offer to bring the schoolboy to a house where he subjected him to sickening abuse.

The attacks lasted for weeks until Robinson left the area for a new parish.

He would go on to abuse at least five other children between 1959 and 1984.

The ex-priest, who was raised in Brownhills, Walsall, had worked at Midland parishes including the Holy Family in Small Heath, Birmingham, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at Rednal, Our Lady of Lourdes at Old Hill, Wolverhampton, and St Elizabeth's in Foleshill, Coventry.

After ringing the police to report the abuse he suffered at the hands of Robinson, Geoff, who now lives in Ireland, said he knew he was ready to testify against him in court.

"The door to the court opened," said Geoff.

"I was ushered to the witness box. Now I was in the position to tell the world what happened.

"I stood tall, listened, took a sip of water and then answered all the questions one by one.

"This went on for four or five hours."

Geoff said a barrister then asked him to identify the man who had abused him to the court.

"I raised my arm and pointed straight at Robinson," he said.

"I looked at the judge and said aloud, finger still pointing: 'That man, Richard John James Robinson, is the man that abused me when I was 11 years old'." Robinson tried to deny he had ever met Geoff who, unlike other victims, had no photographs on himself with the priest.

But after a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, he was found guilty of 21 sex offences against young boys and sentenced to 21 years in prison in October 2010.

On hearing the guilty plea, Geoff said: "The judge entered and we all stood up.

"On each charge James Robinson was found guilty.

"I still cannot believe the atmosphere. There was no sound at all in court, no talking, no rejoicing, no nothing."

Robinson must serve at least 14 years before he can be considered for parole.


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