'Predatory paedophile' Leeds priest spent ten years visiting Asian country where vulnerable children stayed in his hotel room

A Catholic priest described as a 'predatory paedophile' spent ten years visiting a country in Asia where vulnerable children were allowed to stay in his hotel room.

By Tony Gardner
Saturday, 9th April 2022, 4:30 am

The disturbing details emerged as Father Patrick Smythe was jailed at Leeds Crown Court after being found guilty of historic sex offences against boys in his care.

Police and prosecutors have expressed concerns over Smythe's conduct after he told detectives he had spent a decade visiting East Timor.

Smythe was jailed for seven and a half years on Thursday (April 7) after being found guilty of six counts of indecent assault and one of attempted indecent assault.

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Father Patrick Smythe spent ten years visiting East Timor where vulnerable children were allowed to stay in his hotel room, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Jurors heard Smythe, 79, preyed on three of his victims during swimming trips to the former Leeds International Pool in the 1970s and 1980s.

Smythe also targeted boys in his care while on a retreat at a hostel in North Yorkshire.

A judge said the pensioner told a "pack of lies" to the court during his trial.

After Smythe was found guilty, prosecutor Michael Morley made an application for a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to include a ban on him travelling abroad upon his release from custody.

Father Patrick Smythe has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of sex offences against six boys.

Mr Morley said Smythe had told police officers during an interview that he had spent ten years travelling to East Timor "sponsoring people in that country."

The court heard that he had been in contact with children of a similar age to the victims he has been convicted of abusing.

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Mr Morley said: "In the course of that interview he said he had taken those children back to his hotel room to, in his own words, 'show them how the other half lives.'"

Father Patrick Smythe preyed on victims at the former Leeds International Pool.

The prosecutor added: "This has caused the police and the prosecution some considerable concern."

Judge Simon Batiste said he was aware that there had been sex trafficking issues in East Timor, adding: "I understand now why the application has been made."

The judge told Smythe he is prohibited from travelling to any country outside the UK apart from countries within the EU or North America.

The court heard one of Smythe's victims told his parents about the abuse he had suffered.

A complaint was made to the boy's school but it was not reported to the police.

The judge said: "While there are no school records in existence from the time, it is evident that little or nothing was done about the complaint and it appears that it was largely brushed under the carpet.

"The matter was not reported to the police and you were able to continue with your youth work.

"It is staggering, but sadly, given what we now know, unsurprising that you were allowed to continue in your role where children were put at risk of sexual abuse by you."

Smythe, of Manor Square, Otley, also preyed on another victim after visiting the boy's father as he was dying of cancer to reassure him that his son would be safe.

Judge Batiste said: "You are a predatory paedophile who used your position to enable you to abuse boys that were in your care."

Smythe's barrister, Susannah Proctor, told the court: "There is absolutely no suggestion that this defendant has committed offences in East Timor."

After Smythe was jailed, a statement was issued by Rt Rev Marcus Stock, The Bishop of Leeds, which read: "The Catholic community in the Diocese of Leeds feels deep shame and sorrow for the crimes committed by Fr Smythe.

"As the bishop and shepherd of the diocese, I wish to express my profound apologies to the survivors, who are now adults, for the abuse they suffered as children and the pain which they have carried over the course of their lives as a consequence of such grave offences.

"I thank you for the courage which you have shown in coming forward and bringing these crimes to justice.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

"The Diocese of Leeds is committed to ensuring the safety and protection of every child, young person and adult at risk.

"There are robust safeguarding standards, policies and procedures in operation within the Diocese – and indeed throughout the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

"Abuse of any kind should be reported to the police, and any abuse reported to the Diocese is referred to the police and other relevant statutory authorities.

"If anyone has any concerns at all relating to this case, please get in touch with the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator.

"She can be contacted on 0113 2618069 or via [email protected]"