Former BBC presenter accused of 'deviant sexual obsession with young boys', court told
A former BBC radio presenter had a "deviant sexual obsession" with young boys and used his celebrity to abuse society's most vulnerable, a court has heard.
Ex-BBC Norfolk broadcaster Michael Souter, 60, of Loddon, Norfolk, denies 19 sex offences, including indecent assault, indecency with a child and serious sexual offences, against seven boys aged between 11 and 16. The allegations date to between 1979 and 1999.
Opening the case at Norwich Crown Court, prosecutor Andrew Shaw said Souter had also been involved in the scout movement and volunteered as youth mentor for the county's social services department.
Mr Shaw added: "He worked in radio and television and was something of a local celebrity.
"The significance of his work and his involvement with the scouts and social services, is that these three roles brought Mr Souter into regular contact with pliable young boys and very often pliable young boys who were among society's most vulnerable.
"We say Mr Souter is a deviant sexual abuser of young boys, particularly boys in uniform and those wearing shorts."
Souter presented a number of shows for BBC Radio Norfolk from its launch in 1980 until the 1990s.
Originally from Scotland, he worked as a producer and presenter in both commercial and BBC radio since the mid-1970s. He had previously presented for Radio Clyde.
Since 1989 he has worked as a freelance broadcaster and had run a media relations consultancy.
Mr Shaw said Souter had been spoken to by police in 1990 when another boy went to police accusing him of abuse.
One of the alleged victims in this case told that inquiry that he had not been abused and it was not until 2011 that he felt able to tell officers what had happened, the court heard.
Mr Shaw said mistakes may have been made by the authorities in the past, but added: "As we have seen in recent high profile cases, victims often only tell what has happened to them when they are ready to."
The court heard that on one occasion Souter had plied an alleged victim, who had a casual job at BBC Norfolk, with alcohol. The boy passed out and woke to find his trousers pulled down and Souter, who had not been drinking, molesting him, jurors were told.
Another victim was indecently touched by Souter while at a scout camp, Mr Shaw said.
He took boys on trips to burger restaurants and theme parks and used his links with Norwich City Football Club to invite them to watch matches at Carrow Road, the court heard.
Mr Shaw said: "As an indication of how he used his position, on one trip to Carrow Road the defendant was able to introduce one of his victims to Noel Edmonds."
After one of these matches it is alleged Souter invited one of the boys for a drive in his camper van before asking him to "tickle" him.
"This was a case of gently introducing a very young child to sexual activity - he was grooming him, preparing him for what was to come," the prosecutor said.
The abuse against this boy is alleged to have continued for five years.